Josh Stankey, a Special Olympics Wisconsin athlete who competes in track, basketball, and golf, was able to get the dental care he needed because of Special Smiles at the State Summer Games.
Josh went to Special Smiles with a coach and two athletes because he heard they provided free dental screenings and he had been experiencing problems with his front tooth, which had been chipped for the last few years from grinding his teeth.
“It looked weird so I wanted to get it fixed,” Josh said. “I have a new job and I like to smile so I didn’t like when it was chipped.” Josh works as a dishwasher at Club 360, a Supper Club in Columbus.
While Josh had wanted to get the tooth fixed, his insurance prevented him from receiving the care he needed. Deana Stankey, Josh’s mother, explained that they had medical assistance instead of dental insurance and they were unable to find a dentist who would accept this.
“We’re in the Madison area and there’s 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.”
After receiving a dental screening at Special Smiles during the State Summer Games, Josh was flagged with an urgent dental need, allowing him to be allotted an appointment at the Wisconsin Dental Association Mission of Mercy to fix the chip in his tooth free of charge.
“If he hadn’t been screened we wouldn’t have gotten him the services he needed,” Deana said of Special Smiles. “I think its definitely worth your time to come here, they’re treated really well. The screenings are the best and the volunteers who volunteer their time are awesome.”
While the dental work Josh received helped him feel better smiling at work, it also improved other areas of his life.
“He’s always been the target of being picked on and the chip in his tooth didn’t help,” Deana explained.
Thanks to Special Smiles and Mission of Mercy, Josh can show off his improved smile without fear.