For a business whose goal is to interact with, and contribute to, its local community, the pandemic has posed a unique challenge.
Since opening in 1998, Santa Clarita Advanced Dentistry and its owners Drs. Allen and Kelly Smudde have given back to a variety of causes and organizations, including the William S. Hart Union High School District, American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Operation Gratitude, among others.
While much of those efforts, as well as overseas volunteer efforts, have ceased due to the current health crisis, the dentists still found a way to give back.
In November, the Smuddes donated another Free Day of Dentistry, celebrating Veterans Day for an entire week.
“Every day, we had veterans come in and get free dentistry done,” Kelly said. “They’re able to tell everyone their exciting stories about the wars they were in or about the service and what they did, and we love to hear them. Even though they’re half numb, we love the stories. … It’s everybody’s highlight.”
It’s the team at Santa Clarita Advanced Dentistry that she says makes the business what it is, as they all simply love doing what they do.
“We have the best team that you could ever ask for,” she added. “Our team is just so loving and so caring, and from the minute you walk in the door, to the hygienists, to the assistant, to the doctors, everybody just has a really good heart that we have here. And everybody loves it.”
While COVID-19 hasn’t allowed the office staff to interact with one another as they’re used to, it’s the common interest in helping patients that has continued to shine through.
“With our job, there’s not a lot of people in the world that can do dentistry, and we know it’s a gift,” she added. “We’re able to do things where we’ve really changed people’s lives, like we’re able to get people out of pain and get rid of infection and get people to smile that haven’t smiled in years. And it’s life changing.”
The dentists’ practice has remained open through the entire shutdown treating patients, without many changes needed, as sanitization protocols in the field have always been stringent.
“So, we’ve been lucky that we’ve been ready for this before it happened,” Kelly said. “We have been trying our hardest to reach out to the community by letting everyone know how safe we are.”
Through it all, she believes dentistry has been a way to assist the community.
“So many things have happened, and it’s been a lot for everyone, but I feel like we’ve really changed for the better because I think we’re very grateful that we’re able to help out in terms of health care,” she added. “People have gone through a lot this year, and I think going to the dentist is such a normal thing that everybody needs, and it really helps for your overall health. It’s had its challenges, but it’s been so worth it.”