The work done for the patient depends on their individual needs and circumstances, said Plaisted. While some people are referred to her, others are existing patients. Typically she assists several people each year in this capacity.
Plaisted said the benefit to donating her time and services in this way is that there are no administrative costs associated with the work since the office absorbs those costs as part of the regular practice.
Like Plaisted, dentists Robert Herzog and William Primomo said they feel that giving back to the community is a vital part of their practice. Primomo's father, Gene, started the practice more than 50 years ago and incorporated that idea as part of the work atmosphere. The practice offers an annual scholarship in his memory each year to a Bethlehem High School graduate pursuing a college education in the health field.
"My father was always doing things for people when they needed help," said Primomo. "It wasn't necessarily organized."
Primomo said his father had gone to Mexico to provide dental assistance to those in need, but it was his local work that has served as the example for himself and the rest of the practice.
"This year we asked our staff to come up with a project," said Herzog. The group of 12 staff members has created a clothing storage and distribution center in some spare space within the office. Clothes are collected and distributed through local churches and other agencies to families in need.
Both dentists and members of the office staff volunteer to speak at area schools during February's National Children's Dental Month. Conversations in the schools center on oral hygiene and diet.
"We try to spread good cheer and promote oral health education," said Herzog. "We are one of the only professions that speaks about prevention."