LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Louisville dentist is making sure uninsured and under-insured families have access to dental care during an event called “Sharing Smiles Day.”

What You Need To Know

  • “Sharing Smiles Day” was founded in 2015

  • The event is organized with local dentists and national dentist partner Benevis

  • Ruby Dentist & Braces in Louisville has taken part in the event since the first year

  • Nationwide, “Sharing Smiles Day” has helped 2,000 people with day-of dental care that are uninsured or underinsured 

You wouldn’t expect most dentist offices to be open on a Sunday, but this Sunday was no ordinary one. Ruby Denist & Braces in Louisville took part in ‘Sharing Smiles Day’ for the seventh year in a row to help community members that are uninsured or underinsured gain access to free day-of dental care. 

Shannon Bright is a dental hygienist at Ruby Dental & Braces. She takes patients through the process of teeth cleaning and treatments.

Shannon Bright focuses on patients' needs on 'Sharing Smiles Day’. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

“It’s just going to numb like the first two layers of your mouth, that’s it. It shouldn’t take long. She’s only got one to do here so in these two areas,” Bright said to a patient.

The program is in its seventh year, and this year includes 21 other dental offices across the country. It’s made possible through a partnership with Benevis, a national dental services organization.

“In 2015, we started a program called ‘Sharing Smiles Day.’ It’s a program where we serve the underserved community, helping those that don’t have insurance or are underinsured,” said Brown.

Teri Brown, the office manager for Ruby Dental & Braces, said so far the event has helped over 2,000 uninsured patients across 16 states. It’s something she’s proud to bring awareness to.

Shannon Bright, dental hygienist at Ruby Dentist & Braces, works on a patient's concerns during ’Sharing Smiles Day’. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

“A lot of people don’t associate the mouth with the body, but it’s very important to keep your oral [health] great, so the rest of your body is healthy,” said Brown.

Skipping out on regular dental visits could expose one to oral diseases like gingivitis or periodontal disease. According to the International Association of Dental Research in 2020, a study revealed nearly half of respondents (46.7%) reported delaying going to the dentist or receiving dental care due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brown agrees the pandemic has shifted people’s priorities regarding dental care.

“People have kind of forgotten about their dental needs and it’s very important to keep our patients coming in to get their teeth cleaned and to take care of pain areas,” said Brown.

Brown wishes more people in the community knew that there were options to dental care that don’t delay treatment.

Ruby Dental & Braces encourages families to stop by anytime to their Broadway Ave or Bardstown Rd. location for information and resources about dental care if they are uninsured or underinsured.