50 States, 50 Dentists, 50 Heros, 50 Smiles.
Smiles for America is a program ( movement ) co-founded by Dr. Dean Lodding and Dr.Debra Gray King.
Smiles for America is a program in which 50 cosmetic dentists from 50 states will give a smile to an American hero. A hero could be defined as an individual who is of distinguished courage or ability or admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities. As we prepare to remember the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we are reminded of the courageous spirit of the many heroes who helped our country emerge from that sad day in American history. Heroes are all around us in America. They are men and women of all ages, race, professions and walks of life. They are those who give and do for others in the most admirable of ways without expecting anything in return. They give without expecting anything in return and by doing so enrich and elevate the lives of those whom they touch with their acts of service. They give joy and smiles to many. These heroes are individuals we encounter in our everyday lives. They go about their lives doing so much good because it is the right thing to do. Their joy and life purpose comes from seeing great things and blessings come to the lives of their fellow man. They give and give and now is the time to use the special gifts that we have been blessed with to give them something back. That something is the gift of a smile.
Smiles for America is a united group of 50 dentists from 50 states banding together to provide smiles for 50 deserving American heroes. We will work hand in hand with the best dental laboratories in the country to create these smiles. On or around September 11, 2021, smiles will be provided across our great country to each one of these deserving heroes. This date has been chosen to commemorate the spirit of the many heroes who gave their lives so selflessly on 9/11. They will never be forgotten for what they did to make a difference.
In commemoration of those amazing heroes, the 50 dentists from 50 states will refresh the lives of American heroes with a new smile. It will be our gift to them. We will do it because it is the right thing to do and by doing it we will help to empower them and let them feel that what they have done is so uplifting to our country and what they have done is what helps to make our country so great. We will not ask anything in return except that they continue to share their lives and hearts as they have already done. It will be a blessing to give them something that they could not or would not ever be able to do for themselves. We will do it because we want to help to inspire the spirit of heroism and giving that makes America great
Dean Lodding | Co-founder
Dr. Dean Lodding is an Accredited Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry since 1988 and also a Past President of the AACD and is the owner of Smile for Life Dental in the suburbs of Chicago.
Debra Gray King | Co-founder
Dr. Debra Gray King is the owner of the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. She has also achieved the level of Fellowship in the AACD.
Participating Dentists Across America
Debra Gray King
Mary Sue Stonisch
(Norling)Carlson Dental Group
Jana Gyurina- Bever
Meet the Heroes
Eric Echevarria | Illinois
Dr. Dean Lodding of Smile for Life Dental, is proud and honored to have chosen police officer Eric Echevarria to be the American hero who will receive the gift of a smile. Eric is an individual who has dedicated his entire life to giving and serving others around him. He proudly served our country in the United States Marine Corps and later began his career in law enforcement. His leadership and service within the community, and within the Elgin police force, led to him rising through the ranks of the force advancing from patrolman to sergeant to commander in an unprecedented time frame. His exceptional service led him to recently be chosen as the police chief in Peoria, Illinois. When informed that he had been chosen to be the recipient of a new smile through the Smiles for America program, he felt with great humility, others might be more deserving.
Kurt Vermillion | Georgia
Dr. Debra Gray King of Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, has dedicated her life’s work to designing smiles that help people build confidence, fuel success, and bring added joy to their lives. Dr. King was especially touched by the story of Atlanta firefighter Kurt Vermillion. Kurt, a firefighter since 2010. Vermillion has wanted his teeth corrected for as long as he can remember, but the costly procedure was never an option. Due to this, he always “smiled” with his mouth closed. Unable to afford a permanent solution in his young life, he settled on a quick, inexpensive fix which he self-consciously wore for years. He recalled at his one-year anniversary dinner with his wife how she learned for the first time about his insecurity. While biting into a piece of bread, the dentistry in the front of his mouth broke into pieces, leaving him without a front tooth. Now, with his smile being transformed as part of this exciting program, he looks forward to smiling with confidence.
Checkout our Smiles For America transformations on our social channels below