Creating One Smile at a Time
Dr. Ken Johnson creates smiles that will last a lifetime through the free dental work he provides to children in need.
“My father was a generous, giving man who instilled in me a core value of giving back & helping out,” recalls Ken. “He raised funds for needy community members even while not having much money to support his own family.”
Ken has been giving back through providing volunteer dental services throughout his entire 44 year career. As a young dentist Ken made 25 international trips to provide volunteer dental care in impoverished countries throughout the world. He served hundreds in his trips to Guatemala and helped establish two dental clinics in the Grenadine Islands in 1998 that are still in operation today. Then, he realized that similar a need existed for a free dental clinic in his own community in Corvallis, Oregon.
Through a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis, Ken created the first free youth dental clinic in Benton County, Oregon. It is housed in the Club. Ken solicited $100,000 worth of donated dental equipment and supplies and worked with public school nurses and the Benton County Health Department to identify children most in need. Since the clinic opened in 2008, 1,200 children have received access to nearly $1.2 million worth of free dental care.
The clinic has served as an inspiration for other dental professionals in the area with 50 volunteering their services at the clinic and others expanding free care offered in their offices. Ken hopes other dentists throughout Oregon and the nation will establish similar clinics.
Even in his retirement Ken is still active, maintaining his license so that he can continue working in the clinic. He also has hopes to expand clinic services by providing educational programs focused on life-long dental health, job shadowing opportunities for local high school students and potential internships for dental and hygienist students.
To ensure the clinic can keep creating beautiful smiles, Dr. Johnson created an endowment through the Benton County Foundation. His goal is to grow the endowment fund so that it will support the annual expenses of the dental clinic and fund a clinic coordinator to expand the clinic’s ability to serve youth across the county.