The thought of a trip to the dentist’s office can send some people into a panic. Maybe it is the ominous whirring sound of the drill or the sight of sharp, pointy probes that puts them on edge. It may help ease petrified patients’ nerves to learn that dental professionals are, by and large, an empathetic lot. Many donate their time and expertise to help those in need by volunteering with charitable organizations in their communities and throughout the world.
A past president of the North Texas Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Donald Nix, D.D.S. opened his practice in 1984. “I enjoy the challenges of surgery, the intricacies of surgery and doing a good job,” the longtime Frisco resident shares. “When the patient is pleased with the result and they are happy they came to you, that is very rewarding.”
Also rewarding, he says, is the charitable work he has performed throughout his career, which has included traveling on a dozen medical mission trips to countries including Russia, India, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama to provide much-needed dental care to impoverished residents. “They are so overwhelmed by your generosity … they just cannot express their gratitude enough,” he shares. Earlier this year, he traveled to Jamaica to perform surgeries, accompanied by his registered nurse and wife, Cathy. While there, he mentored a group of students from the Baylor University College of Dentistry in Dallas.
For more than a decade, Dr. Nix has volunteered his time with and been a major sponsor of the Smiles Charity. Founded by McKinney orthodontist, Dr. Jennifer Buchanan, the organization builds homes for wounded military veterans and their families. With Dr. Nix’s support, Smiles Charity has funded a dozen homes for deserving families. “We could not make the dream of home ownership a reality for our veterans without his help,” Dr. Buchanan shares. She added that, over the years, Dr. Nix has also donated his oral surgery skills to veterans in need.
For several years, Smiles Charity partnered with Habitat for Humanity to complete the abodes. Dr. Nix swung hammers and assisted with other construction-related duties at home sites. “It is a tremendous organization,” he says. “It is just wonderful to be able to give to these veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.”
As the son of one of the first orthodontists to practice in Dallas during the 1950s, John Wise, D.D.S., continued his family’s tradition when he opened his own practice, Wise Orthodontics, in Frisco in 1992.
Having formerly served as president of the North Texas Dental Society, as well as the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Wise is accustomed to giving back to the community. In 2001, he co-founded and for five years chaired the Rite to Smile Foundation, which raises funds to improve dental care access for members of underserved populations throughout the area. He also previously co-chaired the Texas chapter of Smiles Change Lives, a national foundation for orthodontists to volunteer their time and facilities and provide services at discounted rates to qualified children whose families cannot otherwise afford it. “We just want to eliminate as many barriers as we can to getting this life-changing care,” he explains, adding that he treats several pro bono patients annually through the foundation.
Also in 2001, Dr. Wise joined the Texas Dental Association’s Smile Foundation and later served on the board of the organization, which operates the Mission of Mercy mobile clinic that provides free basic dental care throughout the state to people with limited resources. Two years later, he helped found the North Texas Dental Society’s Give Kids a Smile Day, an offshoot of a national program sponsored by the American Dental Association. Locally, the annual event provides more than 100 needy children with dental screenings, X-rays, cleanings and treatments that are performed by professionals who volunteer their time and services. Dr. Wise says about his view on charitable work, “A lot has been given to me, and I see the need for these things. It is really uplifting, almost a spiritual type of feeling you get by helping these people who do not expect it.”
Going on a two-year church mission trip to Spain during college cemented in Jared K. Corbridge, D.D.S., the principle of service to others. “I feel like I learned to love people from all different backgrounds, situations, viewpoints — everything,” he shares.
A magna cum laude graduate of Brigham Young University, he attended the University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry before moving with his family to Dallas in 2007 to study orthodontics at Baylor’s College of Dentistry. He opened his practice four years later.
Dr. Corbridge is a member of both the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists. For several years, he has volunteered his services for the North Texas Dental Society’s Give Kids a Smile Day. A few years ago, during the event, he examined a teenage patient who attended with her mother. Fluent in Spanish, as a result of his mission trip, he bonded with the bilingual teen and ended up offering her orthodontic services free of charge. “Their eyes welled up,” he recalls. “You just get the chills and you think, ‘Man, it is so cool that I get to do this.’”
Corbridge Orthodontics hosts an annual food drive benefitting Frisco Family Services. Each fall, the practice sponsors a pumpkin-decorating contest, during which the doctor challenges other local dental professionals to adorn pumpkins that are donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, which tends to families of seriously ill and injured children as they undergo medical treatment. “That is a fun thing we do,” Dr. Corbridge shares. “That is how service is. They call it a sacrifice, but you definitely get the blessing from it.”
After graduating in 1988 from the Institute of Health Sciences in Colombia, Margarita Correa, D.D.S., worked for more than a decade as a dentist in Medellin, the nation’s second-largest city, before relocating to the U.S. in 2000. She earned her dental surgery degree through the International Dentist Program at California’s Loma Linda University before moving to North Texas in 2007.
Two years later, she opened her practice, Prisma Dental, located near Toyota Stadium. Dr. Correa, a lifelong fan of soccer, soon began treating some of the players and eventually became FC Dallas’ dentist. As a member of the Illinois-based Academy for Sports Dentistry, she also belongs to the recently-formed Association of Dentists for Professional Soccer, which works to improve the quality of treatment received by professional Major League Soccer players. In 2008, she became a founding board member of the North Texas chapter of the Hispanic Dental Association, which awards scholarships to local students and raises funds to provide dental services for members of local Hispanic communities in need.
As head of the chapter’s social committee, four years ago, she created the annual Soccer Smiles Tournament. The event raises funds to help low-income families receive preventative dental care, education and treatments. About 40 children (many of them from needy families) and 40 adults competed in the 2016 tournament, which raised about $8,000. This year, the fourth annual tournament, also a great success, took place on September 23. “It is a really great event,” she says. “Even though it is a competition, it is a friendly environment.”
Last year, through her practice, Dr. Correa collected items benefitting the Operation Care International organization. Earlier this year, she donated to and collected funds for victims of a devastating landslide in Mocoa, Colombia. More recently, she has accepted donations on behalf of poverty-stricken residents of Venezuela. “I always try to be in contact with the community and help who needs it,” she shares.
Frisco is known for its unique residents who generally go above and beyond to better the lives of those around them. The professionals at local businesses who give it their all and give back to others make this community truly great. Next time you find yourself at the dentist, ask some questions. You never know the story your dentist or orthodontist may have to share.