Dentist helping homeless smile with free dental work

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dr. Lyndal Holmes created a dental program at City Union Mission 12 years ago. He’s changing lives one toothache at a time.

Before this building became City Union Mission, it was a dental school where Holmes graduated in 1965.

“That was the old dental school where my dad and I graduated and other members of my family. I can walk through and see all my old instructors and there are a lot of spirits in the building even though it’s been remodeled that gave so many of us a chance to do so well in life,” he said.

He’s using what he learned so many years ago to help those who use the building now. Holmes started a dental program and recruited other dentists to help service the needs of the homeless. He reached out by handwriting letters to his colleagues around the metro.

"The response was surprising. Some said 'I will take one patient a year' or 'I will try one patient every month.' I was astounded when one individual said 'as many as it takes,'" Holmes said.

From extractions to dentures, most dental needs are met for free. Total restorations of the mouth are only for people who complete a long-term program.

“Beat a substance abuse problem, you can get your GED,” he said.

He said he hopes by restoring a smile, it will eventually restore the person and provide the second chance so many need.

He also wanted to give a shout-out to everyone involved to make this program possible.

“Most all dental specialties are represented. Two dental hygiene programs in the city have provided assistance. I explained my mission to a dental laboratory, and Mallow-Tru Dental Studio has done all of our lab work, free of charge, for 12 years. May God bless all of these people, their staffs and employees. Together we have all provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in dental care that has helped people turn their lives around and has positively impacted their second chance.”

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