Photo caption: Smiles enough to go around - (from left) Dr. Cunningham, a Healthy Smiles participant, and Emily Watts, The Advocates' staff liaison for the program.
As a practicing dentist in Ketchum for over fifteen years, Dr. Robert Cunningham has always strived to do everything he can to help those less fortunate and in need in our Valley. With this goal in mind Dr. Cunningham, in collaboration with Emily Watts of The Advocates, established the Healthy Smiles Program in 2013.
The Healthy Smiles Program provides much needed dental care to local survivors of domestic violence & sexual assault. Many of these individuals suffer from injuries and scars as a result of their abuse.
“The Healthy Smiles program works by providing an environment that supports the uniqueness and dignity of the individual. We are able to help in the mentoring, education and relationship building that goes into any victim’s healing.” -Dr. Cunningham
There are very few dental assistance programs offered in the United States that provide low or no cost services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. While the Medicaid program can provide assistance for eligible children; unless pregnant, adults are usually unable to obtain any dental assistance. The Healthy Smiles Program sets a long-term goal for each patient to achieve optimum dental health and since 2013 has successfully helped participants achieve their goals, regain their smiles and enjoy life without dental pain.
One program recipient stated, “Dr. Cunningham and his Staff were amazing! Everyone was understanding and patient with me. They showed great compassion; acknowledged my fears and did their best to alleviate them. Dr. Cunningham is in the proper field.”
“Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Cunningham and The Healthy Smiles Program, I feel beautiful! I feel that I can shed my former self and step into the light as a whole and confident person.”
While personally donating over $36,000 in dental work to the program in 2013, Dr. Cunningham hopes to grow and expand Healthy Smiles. “Sponsor a Healthy Smile” program is being developed to raise funds to support the program. As a resource in and for our community, Healthy Smiles empowers domestic violence and sexual assault survivors to regain their dental health.
For more information about Healthy Smiles, please contact Emily Watts, The Advocates (208) 788-4191, or Echo Christensen, Dr. Cunningham (208) 726-3457.