It was late 2010, and Kahdeem Denton was ashamed to smile. At 14, his self-esteem hit the floor and he avoided talking whenever possible because of a severe overbite and large gap between his front teeth. Kahdeem needed braces but sadly his family could not afford them.
Then one day, his mom saw a news program about the Ben Massell Dental Clinic (BMDC) and she called for an appointment. Because demand far outweighs supply at the clinic, Kahdeem spent 16 months on the waiting list. He finally started the process in March 2012.
Flash forward two years, and this bright, handsome 18-year-old high school senior is a different person. He plans to work toward a degree in nursing so he can “help others and make them happy.”
Kahdeem recounted his experience to a crowd of nearly 600 at this year’s Community of Caring event on April 25. “At first I was uncomfortable,” he said, “but everyone was so warm and welcoming.”
Dr. Russell Kincer, a volunteer orthodontist at BMDC, worked regularly with Kahdeem. The two bonded and before long the clinic “felt and became my orthodontist office.”
April 25 was a special day for Kahdeem and not just because of his public speaking. It was prom night and he was going with a beautiful, braces-free smile and all the confidence in the world.