Dignity Smiles Dental Restoration for Clients of The Source

Anthony Zorbaugh, Executive Director of The Source, a Christian Outreach Ministry that serves the homeless and needy in Indian River County, works tirelessly to help change the lives of his clients. His beliefs, and ultimately the programs and services offered to his clients, are based on leading them to a dignified life; whether that is through training them to obtain a job or how they interact with others, including how to improve their appearance.

Zorbaugh has recently teamed up with an ardent supporter of the Source, Vero Beach resident Dr. Thomas J. Balshi, who is a Board Certified Prosthodontist (now retired) and Founder of The Institute for Facial Esthetics in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. In conversation, Zorbaugh shared his concerns over some clients who have dental needs.

“Our clients enter our culinary training program to become eligible to apply for a job in the food industry. In proving that they are ready to go out and make a respectable income, many have dental issues that affect their appearance and ultimately could deter them from getting a job,” Zorbaugh shared while reaching out to Dr. Balshi and his wife Joanne for their professional advice.

Joanne Balshi was part of the backbone of getting this off the ground, based on her decades of leadership as the trustee of the Pi Foundation, in Fort Washington where the Foundation did fundraising to help pay for the materials and lab support in building the prosthesis and implants for indigent patients from all over the country. Along with Dr. Tom Balshi’s dental restoration knowledge and his connection as a mentor and consultant to a prominent dentist in Melbourne, they introduced Zorbaugh to Dr. Sadesh Kumar, the founder of Wickham Dental Care. A full service, community-oriented dentistry with thirty-five people on his staff, Kumar specializes in esthetics, orthodontics and implants. In short time of hearing about The Source and their client dental issues, another Dignity Program was quickly born, Dignity Smiles.

For those clients who are fully trained by The Source and eligible to enter the Dignity Smiles program, there is a protocol established that will ensure they are prepared to work as a respectful and dignified individual. The program will allow for one client per quarter. For some simple procedures it may take several visits that may be valued at $5,000. While for other clients that require whole mouth restorations through surgery or implants, it could take up to three months of visits valued at more than $35,000. All of this would be covered through the Dignity Smiles program.

The first client to receive a new smile through Dignity Smiles, as well as a new job, is Brigitte. Now 60, Brigitte was born and raised in Gifford with a difficult upbringing. She enjoyed cooking since the time she was young, and cooked regularly for her family, friends and the homeless in her neighborhood. Following years of poor decision-making, Brigitte found herself in a position to make a change in her life. Needing assistance in finding a job to help pay the bills, she turned to the Dining with Dignity Culinary Program of The Source, which provides professional training to homeless and needy students in preparation for acquiring food-related employment within the community. Following the completion of the program and graduating with a ServSafe Food Handler Certification, she qualified to become a recipient of upper and lower dentures as part of the Dignity Smiles program. At this stage, her treatment is complete. She now has a full set of removable dentures providing function, esthetics, mastication and fulfilling appropriate lip support. No doubt Brigitte’s new smile has improved her social skills, and has given her the confidence, along with the proper training and her bubbly spirit and youthful energy, to interview for and ultimately obtain the position as Line Cook at Mr. Manatees Restaurant in Vero Beach.

“Dr. Kumar and his dental team, which includes Christian Campian, the laboratory technician who oversaw all the construction and custom coloring of the dentures, pride themselves on fast and efficient treatment protocols,” shares Dr. Thomas Balshi. “Brigitte’s treatment was exactly that… swift, efficient and well executed.  As a professor and surgical Prosthodontist I was able to evaluate every step along the way.  The Kumar team executed every step to perfection.”

Zorbaugh concludes, “Just like Brigitte, this new program will allow our clients, to smile again.         It helps change their mental and physical health. The pandemic has covered their faces with a mask. As they become ready to show their inner being without a mask, proper dentistry will make a difference in their confidence and their lives. That’s what we do at The Source. Change lives.”

For more information on Dignity Smiles, contact Anthony Zorbaugh at tony.zorbaugh@iamthesource.org or call 772-564-0202, Ext. 204. For more information on Dr. Sadesh Kumar, visit www.wickhamdentalcare.com.