Like many of us, 19-year-old Josh Stankey grinds his teeth. But for Josh, this habit wore down his front tooth so much, it chipped.
“It looked weird so I wanted to get it fixed,” Josh said.
But, when Josh and his mother sought out a dentist, they couldn’t find any who would accept medical assistance.
“We’re in the Madison area and there are not many options. They’re few and far between and not easily accessible,” Deana said. “It was four or five years ago that Josh saw a dentist.”
Throughout High School, Josh’s chipped front tooth eroded his self-esteem and made simply smiling, a self-conscious act.
“He’s always been the target of being picked on and the chip in his tooth didn’t help,” Deana explained.
Josh graduated from Columbus High School in May and just started working at Club 360, a supper club in Columbus, a transition that made it all the more important to fix his front tooth.
Fortunately, when Josh was competing in track at the State Summer Games, his coach took him for a free oral health screening at Special Smiles. They alerted his mother, Deana, that in addition to the chipped tooth, her son needed urgent dental attention to fill two cavities.
Through a partnership with the Wisconsin Dental Association, Josh was moved to the top of Special Olympics Wisconsin’s list to receive free treatment at Mission of Mercy in Green Bay just three weeks later.
“If he hadn’t been screened, we wouldn’t have gotten him the services he needed,” said Deana.
Josh and Deanna drove nearly three hours to receive the restorative care. According to Deana, the miles were worth it to see Josh’s new toothy smile and watch his confidence skyrocket.
“I think it’s definitely worth your time to come here. The screenings are the best and the volunteers who give their time are awesome,” said Deana.
Click here to find a Special Olympics Healthy Athletes event near you! Learn more about Mission of Mercy at http://www.wda.org/wda-foundation/mission-of-mercy