Last week, Dr. Chin Park and his team from our Orange Park Dentistry practice volunteered for the Veteran Mobile Dental Event hosted by the Florida Baptist Convention and the Clay County Veteran's Council. They spent their time giving back by providing free dental care to local veterans and their families. Thank you to the Orange Park team for embodying our Operation Dental values, and continue reading to learn more about Dr. Park's experience!
- Why did you decide to participate?
I served in the Korean army, and my father was a Navy 1-star rear admiral. I also married my Baptist pastor's daughter. I have always felt it is our responsibility to give back to our community and our veterans.
- How do you think your team benefited from participating?
It was a great team-building experience. Everyone in the office was willing to help, but I only needed two assistants. An additional assistant asked if she could help anyway. It was an amazing experience for the whole team.
- How does giving back to the community make you feel?
It made me feel blessed. I thank God for giving me the ability to use my skills to make a significant difference in someone's life.
- Why do you think it is important to give back as a dentist?
Dental health is often neglected in the overall healthcare world. Many patients will have health insurance but no dental insurance. There is also a stigma associated with going to the dentist, so many patients neglect their teeth until something catastrophic happens. Patients may be more inclined to visit the dentist if we can provide a service that can alleviate the stigma surrounding dental care.
- Can you describe any positive patient interactions you had?
Every patient thanked us for our service. There was one patient that came in saying all they needed was a chipped filling filled. A radiograph showed a tooth with a root canal, a giant mound of a fractured filling, and an existing crown that broke. I explained to the patient that the canal-treated tooth needed a crown, and the broken crown needed a new crown. The patient became emotional because they could not afford anything that expensive. I often make it a point to help as many less fortunate patients as possible. I have also learned that charging the patient a reduced fee is better than doing a free procedure because it incentivizes the patient to keep up with aftercare. I usually ask the patient, "Make me an offer… how much do you feel comfortable paying?" The patients typically look at me like I am crazy! It is a great icebreaker, and we usually start talking more freely. The patient said, "$500… I could do $500." I agreed to do the crown for $500, and the patient started crying again, but with joy this time. They are coming to our office and will hopefully stay for regular checkups.
Dr. Park and his team were honored to be able to provide dental care to those who have served our country. The event was a huge success, and the team was able to help many veterans and their families who may not have had access to dental care otherwise. Dr. Park and his team are committed to serving their community and giving back whenever possible, and this event was just one example of their dedication to helping those in need. We are proud to have such selfless team members and look forward to sharing more of the charitable organizations our practices are passionate about!