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At 92, Rosie gets the smile she almost didn't have

Without dental insurance, Rosie Trotter already faced difficulty paying for much-needed care. Falling victim to tax fraud made it worse until she found help at SVdP's Dental Clinic.

Video story by Matt Linderman featuring Bruce Cooper
Article by Marisol Saldivar

Out of Rosie’s mouth comes a beautiful, booming voice, full of faith and song. And now thanks to the Virginia G. Piper Dental Clinic at St. Vincent de Paul, she has a beautiful smile to match it. 

But that wasn’t the case when Rosie was first referred to the clinic. At 92 years old, her teeth had seen better days. She was missing most of her molars, some of her pre-molars and all of her front teeth. 

Rosie still lives independently but can’t afford dental insurance. 

“That’s why we’re here,” said Dr. Ken Snyder, SVdP’s executive dental director, “to help people exactly like Rosie — people in need who can’t afford dental work.”

SVdP’s Dental Clinic specifically offers general and specialty dentistry care to patients without insurance free or at a greatly discounted price. 

Uninsured, Rosie had intended to put her stimulus check toward a new set of teeth, but was shocked to find out from the IRS that she wouldn’t be getting a check. Someone else had fraudulently claimed Rosie as a dependent on their income taxes, cashing in on the money that should have gone to Rosie. 

“I take care of myself!” Rosie proclaimed. 

As a young woman, she picked cotton in Arizona to make a living and never had any children. She still does all her own cooking and cleaning. In other words, she’s no one’s dependent.

Learning of Rosie’s troubles, another person set up a GoFundMe campaign to help Rosie get her teeth, but the money collected never made it into her hands. 

After a local news story aired about the fraud Rosie experienced and her call for help, community members next directed her to SVdP’s Dental Clinic. 

Over a period of a month and a half the staff, including Dr. Aish Subramanian, a dental resident in the clinic’s Advance Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency Program, got Rosie fitted with some new teeth.

“I started to cry,” Rosie said. “I didn’t know the Lord was going to work a miracle for me, that that was the hand of God.”

“This is exactly why you go into dentistry,” Dr. Subramanian said, “to help these people that don’t have any other place to go. Seeing her be able to look in the mirror at the end of it…it’s a really good feeling.”

Dr. Subramanian offered Rosie top-line care and got her dentures with a comfortably snug fit so that Rosie wouldn’t have any trouble eating. And now she can belt away her favorite gospel songs in confidence too.

“I’m happy,” said Rosie, who began to sing. “It is no secret what God can do.”

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