SAN CLEMENTE, California--As the car pulled up, Sofik knew her life was about to change and she felt a mixture of emotions: excitement, nervousness, anticipation. This car was not only taking her to the dentist, it was taking her to a new smile and new life.
Born in Yerevan, near Russia, Sofik is the first patient participating in Dr. Jon Marashi's Give Back a Smile program. The new program in the San Clemente area donates full smile reconstructions, valued at $40,000.00 to those in the community who are less fortunate.
The program is co-sponsored by Frontier Dental Laboratory, a dental laboratory for esthetic porcelain restorations, and the California Center for Advanced Dental Studies. Dr. Marashi is the southern California Program Director for the center. Sofik was chosen for the program based on her life's story and need for dental care.
Married at a young age to a man who eventually left her without food or money, Sofik was unable to adequately provide for her three young children. After a fire destroyed their residence, she immigrated to the United States in 2005 to work and send money to her family.
"This is an absolute dream come true," Sofik said. "I wondered, 'Who am I to deserve such kindness from Dr. Marashi?' His entire team is so kind and loving. Even though my treatment was all part of Dr. Marashi's charity work, I was treated like a princess. There was no difference between me and those who paid. Each time I see him, I think of how this man has truly changed my life"
Living a lifetime with no money for health or dental care, Sofik's smile had deteriorated and needed attention.
"I saw another dentist who had little to no interest in me," said Sofik. "He performed agonizing restorations on my teeth and promised the pain would subside with time, but six weeks later the pain was worse than ever."
As if fate stepped in, Dr. Marashi selected Sofik to participate in the Give Back a Smile program.
"Dr. Marashi had to work hard to remove the glob of plastic resembling teeth the other doctor put in my mouth," Sofik said. "When he did, he found significant bleeding and pressure on the gums. If Dr. Marashi had not removed the old restorations, I would have suffered continuous pain and a more serious health issue would have developed. I now have a comfortable, healthy smile, and it looks great, too! I never thought I'd have a beautiful smile. This is the first time in my life I can smile proudly."
Through the Give Back a Smile program, Dr. Marashi restored Sofik's smile with upper and lower porcelain restorations giving her the ability to chew comfortably and smile with confidence. Root canal treatments were donated by Dr. Wyatt Simons, an endodonist of southern California.
"I'm absolutely honored to be a part of San Clemente, and this is an important way I can give back to this wonderful community," said Dr. Marashi. "What is truly unique about the Give Back a Smile program is that we take care of everything. We will even provide transportation for the patient, if needed. The patients receive smile makeovers at absolutely no cost to them."
Dr. Marashi carefully structured the Give Back a Smile selection process to ensure it gives those with the greatest need in the community access to care. Informational fliers and applications are located at local community shelters and social service agencies.
Candidates' applications are carefully reviewed and selections are made based on need and situation. To help promote the program and aid as many people as possible, candidates are asked to share their smile makeover story with the community.
Dr. Marashi serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of the South Coast area. He has helped raise funds annually for community youth, and has donated more than $40,000.00 to the Boys & Girls Club, local charities, and high-school programs.
For more information about the Give Back a Smile program or Dr. Jon Marashi and his dental practice, contact (949) 493.9311 or visit Jon Marashi, DDS.
To read more about Give Back a Smile, go to Give Back a Smile.
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