Florence Dentist to Grant Free Care to Five Nominees

FLORENCE — Sue Keller, owner of the Strong & Healthy Smiles dental practice, is offering free dental services in 2016 to five area residents nominated through a “Sharing Smiles” program she conceptualized as a community give-back.

Keller, a dentist for more than two decades, moved her practice from Greenfield to Florence in 2007. To strengthen her bond with her new practice community, she seeks to reach out to five candidates who wish to improve their dental health but may be limited by difficult financial circumstances.

Through Dec. 15, Strong & Healthy Smiles will accept nominations, and Keller said she hopes the effort will help support dental wellness in the Pioneer Valley.

“We want to help these candidates improve their dental wellness. We would really like to help the working poor,” she said. “Dental health is a critical part of whole-body health. It is often neglected due to fear, lack of access, and cost. Compromised dental health, bleeding gums, and bad breath can make it hard to get or keep a job, and tooth pain can cause unexpected time off from work. These folks work hard to provide for their families, and we would like to help them take good care of themselves, too.”

As part of the program, Keller and her team will coach the five candidates to improve their home care, as well as offer preventive maintenance and additional professional treatment.

“Preventing damage is the best way to take care of your smile. The next best thing is to correct a problem as soon as it occurs. When problems go unaddressed, the difficulty and the cost of treatment increase,” she said. “Once we help get their teeth and gums in good health, they can better maintain that health and experience more comfort, predictability, and joy in their smiles.”

Keller explained that her staff — which she has dubbed the Smile Team — has a special interest in taking care of adults with dental anxieties. The team prides itself on a friendly approach to patient care and comfort and a strong preventive-care program for treatment of cavities and gum disease.

“If all we do is place a restoration without figuring out why someone is getting decay, we haven’t solved the problem, and we can expect it to happen again,” she said.

Advanced preventive techniques include testing the saliva of high-cavity risk patients and looking for issues with diet, health, and home care that might contribute to dental-health problems. Other key pieces in preventive care are addressing bite issues before teeth are cracked as a result, or gum issues before they weaken the bone or spread infection to the body.

Strong & Healthy Smiles also seeks area businesses who may wish to “sponsor a smile,” in order to expand this free service to more individuals.

Nominations can be made at www.strongandhealthysmiles.com/nominations. For more information, e-mail the Smile Team at shsinfo@strongandhealthysmiles.com or call (413) 586-9363.