Ronald E. Goldstein, D.D.S., learned an important lesson from his father that continues to influence how he approaches the dental profession today.
"My father, who was a great dentist, taught me that we are so fortunate to be part of a profession that does so well that we must always be thankful and willing to give back," Dr. Goldstein said.
The dentist and longtime photographer has taken that lesson to heart. After starting a program that provides dental care to teens in need more than 10 years ago, Dr. Goldstein recently wrapped up a three-year project to create a coffee table book of his photos to help raise funds and expand the program’s reach.
Tomorrow's Smiles, part of America's Tooth Fairy: National Children's Oral Health Foundation, has helped more than 300 teens. Participating dentists across the U.S. provide their services for free, and the program covers any lab and material costs.
Dr. Goldstein founded the program through a donation to America's Tooth Fairy after recognizing the lack of support for teens who were bullied because of their smiles. He was inspired after treating a teen who had dropped out of high school because she was bullied. After receiving dental care from Dr. Goldstein, she returned to school and went on to college and a successful career.
"The dental services provided through this program literally change lives," Dr. Goldstein said. "The teens who have had their smiles restored thanks to the Tomorrow's Smiles program can focus on their schoolwork, get a good night's rest, laugh and talk with their friends, and no longer need to cover their smile for an interview. Supporting this program enables us to extend beyond our practice and ensure that kids in need have a healthy, beautiful smile."
"About Life...A Photographer's Story," the book Dr. Goldstein published to support Tomorrow's Smiles, includes hundreds of photos from his 60 years of photography. The book will never be available for purchase; instead, those who donate to the program will receive a copy.
"My goal has always been to secure more volunteer dentists to accept one or two teens in need as patients and to raise funds to support the program, so I wanted to create a really nice coffee table book that was unlike anything they had seen before," Dr. Goldstein said. "I chose 200 of my favorite photos from over hundreds of thousands of my photos and used flat binding, special silk paper and triple glazing on 75% of the photos, so they pop off the page."
Dr. Goldstein's interest in photography began after getting glasses as a child and realizing all the little details on people's faces he had been missing. One of the sections of his photo book honors this by focusing on faces.
"I went out on the street wearing my new glasses and stopped cold on the sidewalk, watching people go past me," he said. "For the first time, I saw faces with all their defects, wrinkles and different facial expressions. I had to have a camera to record what I was seeing, so with a new Kodak Brownie camera, my lifetime interest in photography was born."
Dentists can donate to Tomorrow's Smiles and receive a copy of the book at americastoothfairy.org/goldstein.
"Funding is essential to support the Tomorrow's Smiles program. More donations to the program mean more teens can receive the dental care necessary to thrive and succeed," Dr. Goldstein said. "My goal is to get the message out to dentists throughout the U.S. to get them to contribute their time, plus raise the necessary funds to expand the important service to more teens in need."