Manhattan art gallery helps uninsured get dental care

With tears in her eyes, Sonianne Webster says she’s so thankful for her dentist’s dental care.

“When I first got to look at my smile, it was like that was the person I was when I was younger,” Webster said. “I work with the public. no longer have to cover my mouth.

Webster couldn’t afford dental treatment, but when she tripped and fell, she was left without front teeth.

“I knocked out all my front teeth,” Webster said.

What do you want to know

  • Smile Design Gallery and Smile Design Manhattan help uninsured New Yorkers access dental care
  • The art inside the practice is being sold to help fund treatments for people who don’t have insurance
  • Dr. Lee Gause, is the founder and dentist behind the effort
  • The Institute for Oral Health reports that in 2021, more than 76 million adults in the United States did not have dental insurance.

Two years ago, she got her new teeth thanks to the Smile Design Gallery in Manhattan. It is located inside the dental office, Smile Design Manhattan. Webster said she greatly appreciated the immediate care.

Dr. Lee Gause is the visionary behind the practice and the art gallery. He founded both.

“He got me on Christmas Eve,” Webster said.

“It’s our way of combining our passion for art with our love for dentistry. Dentistry is, in fact, the greatest gift we have to give,” Gause said.

This artwork on the walls is for sale. 100% of proceeds go towards funding dental care for people who otherwise could not afford it.

“Art sales can range from $1,000 to $50,000,” Gause said.

The Institute for Oral Health reports that in 2021, more than 76 million adults in the United States did not have dental insurance.

“The need for dental care in this country is incredible and when people need major rehabilitation, it’s usually not something dental insurance would cover,” Gause said.

And some artists, like Fernando Romero, who donate their work have a personal connection to the gallery. He also receives free dental care.

“I was one of the first patients to need help. I don’t have dental insurance, so meeting Lee was life changing to be honest,” Romero said. “It was one of the great opportunities to showcase my work and help someone who was in need.”

In addition to Smile Design Manhattan offering free dental services through gallery proceeds, the Upper West Side dental office opens every Sunday exclusively as an art gallery.

“It’s open to the public for free and any artwork we get from our partner Chase Contemporary is for sale to help our mission move forward,” Gause said.

It was a mission that changed Webster’s life.

“I feel beautiful with that smile now,” Webster said.

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