Something to smile about during the COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Jul. 9, 2020 at 9:22 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Jessica Dunn, a certified nurse assistant from California, came all the way to East Texas to get a brand new smile, because it was given to her for free.

Dr. Rick Coker, a dentist in Tyler, decided to thank first responders the best way he knew how; a smile.

“You know when you’re a kid and you want the perfect wedding dress,” said Dunn. “I wanted the perfect smile.”

Dunn said for as long as she can remember she’s wanted a new smile.

“Since I was younger, I’ve never been happy with my smile,” said Dunn. “I’d talk to my sister all the time about how I needed a smile makeover, but with going to school full time, working, and being a mom to two kids, it wasn’t something I could afford."

On Thursday, she took the first step to getting her perfect smile.

“What we did today was restore the areas of decay and then after we did that, I did a root canal on one tooth,” said Coker. “Then we prepared the teeth for crowns and took impressions and we’re fitting the temporaries as we speak.”

Coker said a lab he works with in Virginia was offering to do free work for COVID-19 first responders. He decided he’d do the same.

“Luckily, I have Bianka who is with Elite Ceramic Dental Lab, here in Tyler,” said Coker. “She volunteered to do it for no fee. She’s going to spend the weekend doing the case in porcelain, so when Jessica comes back on Tuesday, we’ll be ready to seed all the crowns and send her home with a great smile."

Coker said he’d do it again.

“You can normally tell the difference looking in their eyes, not even at their teeth, because all of the sudden there’s a sense of confidence and increased self-esteem, because they’re not hiding their smile,” said Coker. “I always tell people, everybody likes a smile, even if it’s not perfect, so don’t ever hide your smile.”

We’ll be following along with Jessica’s journey and will show you her new smile next Wednesday.

To follow along with Jessica’s smile makeover, click here.

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