Dr. Elenora Woods is doing a lot more than making sure her patients have a nice smile. In some cases, she's actually saving their life, making sure what happened to a young boy in Maryland doesn't happen to anyone else. He died after an abscess spread to his brain and he died.
Something Dr. Woods says a simple extraction would have prevented.
Dr. Elenora Woods says "I said to myself here in this country we can do something to prevent that so I started the dental angel fund foundation."
It provides emergency dental care to adults who can't afford treatment.
Twice a month Dr. Woods opens her doors and sees only those patients who qualify for the Dental Angel Fund averaging about 60 patients a month.
They not only get dental treatment, but also see the doctor who checks for conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Dr. Woods says "If you have poor oral health you do not have good total health."
And that poor oral health can lead to serious medical problems.
Arlene Williams says "Got to have all my teeth removed because they are so bad from infection from my teeth drained into my chest cavity and caused me to have part of a lung removed."
And Dr. Woods sees patients with similar stories on a regular basis.
Dr. Woods says "we've done full mouth extractions, we've had people that are diabetics have to have teeth removed, people who have cancer that have to have teeth removed."
James Brown was one of those cancer patients in desperate need of dental care.
Pam Brown, Wife of Patient says "This meant a lot because a lot of dentists won't do nothing like this, but its good we got one she will do it."
And Dr. Woods says it's patients like James and Arlene that motivate her to do more and try and help more people.
Dr. Elenora Woods says "We get calls, letters, emails everyday we've made sacrifices, I've made personal sacrifices to fund the dental angel fund."
But now more people are making those sacrifices as well, the Dental Angel fund has expanded across the state... and Dr. Woods is hoping even more dentists will get on board.
Dr. Woods says "We would like to do it throughout the country."
And people across the country are taking notice.
Last year the Assistant U.S. Surgeon General was in town to take a closer look at the program and attend a fundraiser for the foundation.
Dr. Elenora Woods says "It is my dream that this country will wake up to the dangers associated with dental infections and begin to include that in their total overall health care"
And she plans to continue working away one person at a time to make that happen.
DR. ELENORA WOODS
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