Nashville dentist Dr. Janet Clodfelter aims to provide smiles to her patients in more ways than one.
For over a decade, Dr. Clodfelter has hosted an annual "Day of Beauty" at her practice. She and her staff spend the entire day giving free dental work to women who live at a domestic violence shelter.
Since a trip to the dentist — whether free or not — is not high on anyone's list of favorite things to do, Clodfelter also offers free meals, massages, and even salon time to the women. These services are optional; the women who participate in Clodfelter's "Day of Beauty" — handpicked by the shelters where they live — all receive the free dental work, even if they do not take advantage of the other offerings. The women also are provided bags of donated groceries.
The dental work provided by Clodfelter and her staff ranges from exams and cleanings to restorations. The restorations are limited to what work Clodfelter and her staff can do in one day. Clodfelter encounters broken and missing teeth in these women — from dental neglect and abscesses as well as domestic abuse.
“We get everybody out of pain,” Clodfelter said of her work. “And I try to restore the smile that you can see.”
The work performed at the annual "Day of Beauty" does more than restore oral health to these women. Healthy smiles promote self-confidence. This newfound self-confidence projects to others, which can lead to opportunities such as employment.
Clodfelter may have to reassure some skeptical patients who question her motives for doing such acts of kindness, but by the end of the day, the kindness and ever-present humor of Clodfelter reaches these women. Clodfelter has them come together at the end of the day and write letters detailing what the day meant to them, and then they read their letters aloud to the other women in turn.
While it might seem a small act of kindness, restoring these women's smiles — along with the care and kindness shown these women who have lived through horrible situations — can start the healing process for victims of domestic abuse.
A small excerpt from one of these letters, which was published in the original article in The Tennessean about Dr. Clodfelter, illustrates the impact that Dr. Clodfelter has on her patients:
“Even though I’m leaving today with a new style, less teeth, and pretty makeup, I’m more than anything leaving with the peace of mind that I AM WORTH IT!!!”
To read more about Dr. Clodfelter's "Day of Beauty," read the original article from The Tennessean: