Aquila Dental Cares… And You Should, Too!
How to Make an Impact in Your Community
In celebration of World Kindness Day on November 13, we’re highlighting a dentist who has made compassion and generosity a major part of his practice. In this SmileMakers exclusive interview, Dr. Rich Higgs of Aquila Dental in Chandler, AZ tells us how he spreads kindness in his community through a day dedicated to free dental care.
Q. What is the Aquila Dental Cares event?
Aquila Dental Cares is a day when we open up our office to take care of members of our community, free of charge. We offer free fillings, cleanings, and extractions.
Q. How did you come up with the idea and how long have you been hosting the event?
The team at Aquila Dental has supported our community throughout the years in a number of ways. We’ve always prioritized giving back to our community through food drives, cash donations, and general support of different local nonprofits. However, it wasn’t until I participated in the Central Arizona Dental Society’s Mission of Mercy that I decided to do something even more impactful.
While supporting charities with donations of food and money is generous and helpful, DOING what we do best for those in need, free of charge, can have a profound impact on everyone involved. Aquila Dental Cares is our own event that mimics the CADS Mission of Mercy by providing free dental services to anyone who shows up at our office door. This year will be our 4th annual event.
Q. How many people are usually treated during an Aquila Dental Cares event?
We treat an average of 75-80 patients at each event, and we donate over $30,000 in dental services each year.
Q. What is one of your most memorable stories from past Aquila Dental Cares events?
I have many wonderful and memorable stories from past events. One of the most touching memories I have was when a Vietnam Vet told me that it was things like Aquila Dental Cares that restored his faith in humanity.
Q. How has the Aquila Dental Cares event changed you, your practice, and your community?
Participating in this event every year has made me more grateful. I’m grateful for my patients and my team who support my efforts to give back to the community of Chandler. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do what we do best for a group of people that need us so much.
Q. What inspires you to give back?
The more I give the more I get – not materialistically, but in my heart and soul. I have been so fortunate in my life and there are so many that have had it rough. I feel that it’s a great gift to be in a position to give back. Seeing a person’s reaction and appreciation after receiving free dental care is so fulfilling. It’s all the inspiration I need.
Q. What advice can you give to other dentists who want to give back to their communities?
Give me a call and I’ll get you started! All it takes is a good team and a few contacts within your community. We worked with a great non-profit, Dentistry From the Heart, to get our event started. In subsequent years, we organized the event ourselves in order to make it even bigger and more impactful.
Q. As a healthcare provider, why do you think it’s important to give back and be involved in your community?
Without our community, we would not have a business. In a community that does so much for us, it’s the least we can do to give back to those in need.
Q. In honor of World Kindness Day, what does kindness mean to you?
One of my favorite songs has a lyric that sums it up: “Above all else, if kindness is your king, then heaven will be yours before you meet your end.” — Dave Matthews. I think we can only be truly happy through being kind.
Shower Your Community with Kindness and Give Your Patients a Reason to Smile!
Healthcare providers are in a unique position to give back and offer meaningful services to their communities. If you want to learn more about how you can impact the lives of the people around you, reach out to Dr. Higgs at Aquila Dental Care or get involved with the organizations we support at SmileMakers to make a positive impact on the health of our nation as a whole.