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After growing up in an abusive home and forced out on my own at age 16 my relationship with my mouth was never healthy.  Finances to maintain were also not available. I am now 56 and have about 16 teeth left.  Only one is a molar.  After years on psychotropic medications and having just come off a year ago of 3 years of benzodiazapines and opiates for autoimmune disease the few teeth I have left are now black at the gumline from decay.  I used to have the biggest full mouth smile.  I can not smile anymore.  Life and now this has taken its toll on me.  My self esteem is in the pits, I can't get a job with rotten teeth.  I don't even want to look at people any more. I am so ashamed of my mouth.  I used to be told how beautiful my smile was.  I can't even look at old pictures that show my used to be smile.  I have always worked at helping others.  My degree from U of F is in Elementary Education and I did child protective investigations, senior care, Life, Health and Annuity sales and Real Estate Sales.  Those are no longer options with out a smile.  I need the help now.  Can you find some one to help. I am on disability and can barely pay my bills.  Thank you for reading this.  It is so sad there is not help for those of us who did not get what we needed through life.  I used to be a cheerleader in high school.  Now I sit on the bench of life.  I hope to hear from you.  Thank you so much.

Answer
Dear Kathleen,

Oh boy.  I'm sorry to hear about your early life circumstance.  No child should have to live in an abusive situation.  It is horrifying how many do.  I know.  My daughter has an MSW and is a Behavior Specialist in Broward County Schools.  There is no end to the horror.

I'm glad to hear you got out both alive and reasonably well.

There is help for you.  Your first steps will be to contact your local, county and state dental associations.  They may know of the right places for you to go.  If not, then contact your social worker.  There are usually county dental clinics that provide free or very low-fee dental treatment for patients.  In my county, there is one not far from my office.  If this doesn't help, contact the dental assisting and dental hygiene programs in the community colleges in your county.  They will often have clinics in which they train their students, and may make you dentures for very low or no fees.  Then there is Donated Dental Services.  They accept patients on an as-needed basis, if and when they have volunteer dentists.  Lastly, there are the dental colleges at UF in Gainesville and at Nova SEU in Davie.  These do provide a wide array of care, but do charge reduced fees.  They may make arrangements with your social services agency to help with payment.

So, to summarize, this is the order of your investigation:

1. Local, county, state dental association
2. Your social worker or your social services agancy
3. County dental or health clinic
4. Community colleges dental assisting or hygiene programs
5. Donated Dental Services.
6. Dental colleges at UF or Nova SEU.

Please let me know how your search goes.  And good luck.

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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO

Expertise

I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.

Experience

Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center (floridaimplantcenter.com). On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (nobhilldentalcenter.com), I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

Organizations
American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

Publications
"How To Save Money At The Dentist" Going to press soon.

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Awards and Honors
Membership in The Vedder Honors Society

Past/Present Clients
HIPAA rules do not allow me to post this information.

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