Arizona dentist provides more than $1 million in dental work to people in need

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Tempe, AZ (KPHO) — An Arizona dentist has donated more than $1 million in dental work to dozens of people in need, such as 23-year old Robert Herrera, of Tempe.

“I was so worried about my teeth and so embarrassed with it. To get this opportunity to fix it is absolutely amazing,” Herrera said.

Dr. Nicolas Porter promotes his “Healthy Mouth Makeover” program on his Spanish-language radio show and his dental offices across the Valley.

For the past three years he has chosen one to two people a month to makeover, pro bono, which has added up to $5,000 to $6,000 a patient.

“I look for people that have a unique situation that have fallen on circumstances and they just couldn’t control. There are a lot of those,” Porter said.

Herrera, a club cheerleading coach, found out about the program from a couple of parents of his students.

“They could tell that I was holding my smile a lot. I was always happy working with the kids as far as having conversations with other parents of other kids, kind of holding myself back with my smile,” he said.

Herrera was all smiles, though, when he found out he had been picked.

“I actually called my mom immediately and said I just got picked to do this makeover with all my teeth and she started crying,” Herrera said.

“If I didn’t give back in this way I would feel very ungrateful,” Porter said.

He started the program because dentists in the office where he worked before dental school, did something similar for him.

“It changed my life. It gave me the confidence to go be a dentist… just to pay it forward and carry that legacy those doctors provided for me,” Porter said.

Herrera’s makeover will include braces so it’ll take a while before it’s complete. But he said it’s worth the wait.

“I honestly think it’s going to make me a lot more comfortable with who I am as a person,” Herrera said.

To submit a letter with your story for potential selection for the “Healthy Mouth Makeover” program, send it to Dr. Porter via his office Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/RisasDental), his radio program Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/DrNicolasShow) or by email at drnicolas@risasdental.com.

By Catherine Anaya