SOURCE: California Center for Advanced Dental Studies

California Center for Advanced Dental Studies

June 15, 2009 11:36 ET

Local Dentist Launches 'Give Back a Smile' Program

Improving Smiles and Lives for San Clemente's Deprived

SAN CLEMENTE, CA--(Marketwire - June 15, 2009) - As the car pulled up, Sofik knew her life was about to change and she felt a mixture of emotions: excitement, nervousness, anticipation. This car was not only taking her to the dentist, it was taking her to a new smile and new life.

Born in Yerevan near Russia, Sofik is one of the first patients participating in Dr. Jon Marashi's Give Back a Smile program. This new and innovative program in the San Clemente area donates full smile reconstructions to those in the community who are less fortunate, giving them confidence, joy and care. This program is co-sponsored by Frontier Dental Laboratory, the premier dental laboratory for aesthetic porcelain restorations, and the California Center for Advanced Dental Studies, with whom Dr. Marashi is the Southern California Program Director.

"This is an absolute dream come true," Sofik said. "I never had time to think for myself or do anything for myself. When I was told about the opportunity to meet Dr. Marashi, I did not believe it. I wondered, 'Who am I to deserve such kindness from this man? Why would anyone so great and grand, want to help me?' The entire team is so kind and loving. Even though my treatment was all part of Dr. Marashi's charity work, I was treated like a princess. There was no difference between me and those who paid. Each time I see him, I think of how this man has truly changed my life."

Sofik was chosen for the Give Back a Smile program based on her life's story and need for dental care. Married off at a very young age to a man who eventually left her without food or money, Sofik was unable to adequately provide for her three young children. After a fire destroyed their residence, she immigrated to the United States in 2005 to work and send money to her family. All of Sofik's money is sent to her children to ensure their survival and to eventually bring them to the United States with her.

"I miss them so much," Sofik said. "It hurts terribly."

Living a lifetime with no money for health or dental care, Sofik's smile had deteriorated and needed immediate attention.

"I don't remember ever anyone taking me to a dentist," Sofik said. "I had a hard time chewing. Most of the time after I ate, I would feel so sick since I was not able to chew properly. I don't remember having any picture of me taken without my lips pressed shut, so no one could see my teeth. I felt so embarrassed about how my smile looked."

Through the Give Back a Smile program, Dr. Marashi restored Sofik's entire smile with upper and lower porcelain restorations giving her the ability to chew comfortably and smile beautifully with confidence. Root canal treatments were generously donated by Dr. Wyatt Simons, the premier endodonist of southern California.

"I'm absolutely honored to be a part of San Clemente, and this is simply a small way I can give back to this wonderful community," said Dr. Marashi. "What is truly unique about the Give Back a Smile program is that we take care of everything. Whether sending a car to our patient for transportation or coordinating donated restorations from Frontier Dental Laboratory, our Give Back a Smile patients receive smile makeovers at absolutely no cost to them."

Dr. Marashi carefully structured the Give Back a Smile selection process to ensure it gives those with the greatest need in the community access to care. Informational fliers and applications are located at local community shelters and social service agencies. Candidates' applications are carefully reviewed and selections are made based on need and situation. To help promote the program and aid as many people as possible, each candidate is asked to share their smile makeover story with the community.

As an all-around San Clemente enthusiast, Dr. Marashi also serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of the South Coast Area. He has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for community youth, and in addition has personally donated over $40,000.00 to the Boys & Girls Club, local charities and high-school programs.

"Whether working with Give Back a Smile patients or with community youth, there's something amazing about seeing a person light up when they realize you sincerely care about them and their well-being," Dr. Marashi said. "That's worth more to me than anything. Helping someone achieve the confidence to see that they have tremendous value and can succeed is priceless."

Sofik says, "I asked Claris, the woman who travels hours to pick me up for my appointments, 'Why? Why would you put so much time and effort to help me? I am nobody. I am nothing. No one has ever done anything for me.' The woman told me that I was special in God's eyes, and from now on my life will be better. She explained that God places people in your life such as Dr. Marashi to help you. I thank God daily for bringing Dr. Marashi into my life."

For more information about the Give Back a Smile program, Dr. Jon Marashi and his dental practice, please contact his office at 949.493.9311 or visit

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