Good dental hygiene, updated X-rays, and regular cleanings are important, sure. But Collins Dental’s motto – Changing Lives, One Smile at a Time – doesn’t stop with just dental work. It’s about making things easier for the office’s neighbors any way that it can, giving back in a community where Dr. F.H. Collins, III; Dr. Ross Reiter; and Dr. Monica Azer are continuously invested, engaged, and inspired.
For the past eight years, Collins Dental has hosted its very special Smiles from the Heart Free Dental Day. It’s a day when Collins Dental team members – a retired employee even volunteered during the most recent event – all pitch in on a Saturday to offer free cleanings, extractions, and fillings. Ninety-two people came to the last Smiles from the Heart day.
“In many cases, we see folks who haven’t been to a dentist in many years,” says Catherine Swetland, business operations manager. “It’s people from all walks of life. They learn about the event from social media or area nonprofits. They just need a little help.”
Dr. Collins says the event’s popularity isn’t just about the cost. There is often a fear of dentists among the underserved population.
“We’re just thankful they are here,” he says of the patients who come in for free dental work.
See page 59 for full coverage of this year’s Smiles from the Heart event.
Culture of Caring
Just like its full range of in-office dental services – everything from Invisalign, teeth whitening, dentures, root canals, tooth-colored fillings, periodontal treatment, and same-day crowns – Dr. Collins and his team give back to the community in a full range of ways.
When patients check out and pay for their dental services, it’s not uncommon to learn that a portion of the payment will go toward a worthy cause such as hurricane relief for the Bahamas, or Wounded Warriors for example.
Even when Collins Dental gathers its patients and staff to unwind, the office still finds ways to serve. During Collins Dental’s annual Patient Appreciation Barbecue at Central Winds Park, special areas are set up where attendees can pack meals for those less fortunate.
“We try and show the importance of volunteerism,” says Dr. Collins. “What you give, you get back.”
Veterans are another group that Collins Dental works hard to help. Dr. Collins served in the U.S. Navy, himself. The office’s employees have volunteered at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games sponsored by Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Collins Dental even sponsored a team at the most recent Games in Orlando.
Local high-school athletes can also benefit from the generosity of Collins Dental. The office provides free protective mouthguards for high-schoolers participating in sports. The mouthguards are all custom-made, and students just need to call the office for an appointment, says Catherine.
Oviedo, Lake Howell and Winter Springs high-school students are also welcome to participate in Collins Dental’s $1,000 scholarship essay contest, with one award per school. It’s another way the dental office gives back to its community.
To support the future of the dental industry, itself, Dr. Collins founded the Florida Dental Assistant Training School (FLDATS), which is right across the street from the Collins Dental office. The school graduated its inaugural class of dental assistants last summer. Featuring a flexible course schedule, the school offers a track to a well-paying career in an in-demand field. Many students are in their 30s or 40s and are looking for new careers. Thanks to FLDATS, students can learn essential skills and gain hands-on patient experience.
Collins Dental cares for our community, it serves our veterans, it sows the seeds of volunteerism in its employees and patients, and it helps train the next generation of dental professionals – that’s enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face.