September 28, 2022

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With tears in her eyes, Sonianne Webster says she is so grateful for the dental care from her dentist.
​“When I was able to look at my smile for the first time, it was like this is the person that I was when I was younger,” Webster said. “I work with the public. I won’t have to cover my mouth anymore.”
Webster wasn’t able to afford dental care, but when she tripped and fell, she was left without front teeth.
“I knocked my whole front teeth out,” Webster said.
Two years ago, she got a new set of teeth through the Smile Design Gallery in Manhattan. It’s located inside the dental practice, Smile Design Manhattan. Webster said she greatly appreciated the immediate care.
Dr. Lee Gause is the visionary behind the practice and the art gallery. He founded both.
“He got me in Christmas Eve,” Webster said.
“It’s our way of combining our passion with art with our love for dentistry. Dentistry is, in fact, the greatest gift we have to give,” Gause said.
That art work on the walls is for sale. One hundred percent of the proceeds go towards funding dental care for people who otherwise could not afford it.
“Art sales can be anything from $1,000 to $50,000 dollars,” Gause said.
The Institute for Oral Health reports in 2021, over 76 million adults in the United States did not have dental insurance.
“The need for dental work in this country is incredible and when people need major rehabilitation, that is not something that dental insurance would usually cover,” Gause said.
And some artists, like Fernando Romero, who donate their work have a personal connection to the gallery. He’s also a recipient of free dental care.
“I was one of the early patients that needed assistance. I don’t have dental insurance, so meeting Lee was life changing to be honest,” Romero said. “This was one of the great opportunities to showcase my work and help somebody that was in need.”
Besides Smile Design Manhattan offering free dental services through the proceeds of the gallery, the Upper West Side dental office opens every Sunday exclusively as an art gallery.
“Its open to the public for free and all the artwork we get from our partner Chase Contemporary and it’s for sale to help our mission move forward,” Gause said.
It is a mission that changed Webster’s life.
“I feel beautiful with this smile now,” Webster said.
For more information, head to Smiledesigngallery.com

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