Serving Up Smiles

“Serving Up Smiles,” Ensign, Dec. 1998, 64

Serving Up Smiles

A visit to the dentist isn’t something many people look forward to. For some, though, it can make all the difference in how they feel about themselves.

Since July 1997 Dr. Timothy Kindt, bishop of the Granite Reef Ward, Mesa Arizona Salt River Stake, has donated dental services to residents of the La Mesita shelter in Mesa, Arizona. He performs extractions and root canals, does fillings, or provides temporary dentures, charging only two dollars for each service.

Dr. Kindt became familiar with the shelter when members of his ward participated at a service project there. “I became excited about their program,” he says. “The shelter is unique because they have an 85 percent placement rate. In about three months most residents have found a job or are in school, are balancing a checkbook, and are out on their own.”

Dental work for homeless children is covered by the state, but most procedures for adults are not. Dr. Kindt’s services help relieve pain or improve their “smile zone,” which helps them obtain jobs and increases their feelings of self-worth.

Dr. Kindt doesn’t seek attention for his efforts; almost every situation, he says, is its own reward. “I get a lot of joy from relieving pain or helping people who were covering their mouths and are now smiling,” he says. “I love to see those kinds of changes in people.”