Staff honored

An appreciation luncheon was held Thursday, July 11, honoring the dental team of All Smiles of Jacksonville for its support of a pilot program to provide emergency dental services in Cherokee County.

From left are: All Smiles dental staff, Dr. Dylan Rutherford, Dr. Bran Westbrook, Dr. Larry Folden, Susan Walden of ETHANN, Ellann Johnson, Director of HOPE and Dr. Mary Alice Bone, Medical Council member, ETHANN.

A partnership fostered by a local dentist, H.O.P.E. and the East Texas Human Needs Network is providing free emergency dental services to eligible recipients on a trial basis.

“All Smiles (dental services in Jacksonville) is leading the way by partnering with us as an extension of the Cherokee County Human Needs Network to provide free emergency dental services to those who qualify, and these dentists donate their services to provide Cherokee County residents with dental care that otherwise would be unattainable,” said The H.O.P.E. Center's executive director Ellann Lewis-Johnson. “I am so grateful to All Smiles for paving the way for such an program to uplift our community.”

The partnership developed after a community survey showed a critical need in Cherokee County for dental care, and the dental team of Larry Folden, Bradley Westbrook and Dylan Rutherford agreed to help meet that need.

The All Smiles staff began providing services on June 4; the pilot program will end in December, according to a press release.

The team at All Smiles provides no-cost extractions due to acute and severe pain; clients are screened by staff at The H.O.P.E. Center.

“To qualify for the program you must be, a Cherokee County resident, without dental insurance, without other means of paying for the service and it must be an emergency,” Johnson said.

Eligible clients are referred to the Emergency Dental Assistance Program, with appointments scheduled by H.O.P.E.'s case managers. Assistance is limited to one time per year per household, and all other resources must be exhausted, the release stated.

Interested participants may contact The H.O.P.E. Center, 903-586-7781, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m Monday through Thursday, or apply in person between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Referrals can be faxed to H.O.P.E. at 903-586-2569, and must include client's name, contact number and whether they are SNAP/TANF eligible.

Johnson said their goal is to grow the number of volunteer providers to allow more clients to be helped.

“We would like other dentists to donate their time, no matter how little, to uplifting the community as well,” she said.