“You'd be surprised at the ripple effect from poor dental care,” says Dr. Lakritz, a graduate of Marquette University Dental School in Wisconsin. “People who haven’t seen a dentist in 20 years, who are missing teeth, may not be able to get a job because they don’t have any teeth. We can fit them with proper set of dentures so when they smile they look normal. Maybe they can't speak or even eat properly. Those cases are particularly gratifying; when you can help someone on that level.”
The Dental Clinic's services include restorative care such as fillings, cleanings, dentures, partial dentures, crowns and bridges, routine cleanings and some gum treatments, as well as periodontal services and oral surgery. Patients pay on a sliding scale based on need.
Retired in 2000 after a career that spanned 36 years as a general practitioner, two years in the U.S. Air Force and a one-year residency at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, the Milwaukee native has often donated his time and energy to serving others. After retiring, he volunteered at a free clinic in Madison, Wisconsin, for a number of years, and was a clinical supervisor in a school of dental hygiene. In his private practice, he was known for a caring, competent style in a practice that he created to be just like family.
“In addition to helping me maintain my skills as a dentist, the work here is really rewarding,” says Dr. Lakritz. “The patients truly appreciate what we do for them, and it makes me feel good to know that I'm helping people who need help.” He adds that the staff, most of whom are volunteers, is wonderful. “The place could not operate without the volunteers in all aspects,” he notes, “and that includes dentists (around 32 of them), dental hygienists and dental assistants. Because of their dedication, patients walk in in bad shape, and they leave in good shape.”
Dr. Lakritz says that the clinic depends on the generosity of donors to fund new equipment and to be able to take care of a wide range of needs for older adults, especially dentures. Dental care is not covered by Medicare, and there are many patients in need. To find out how you can help, contact Marty Katz, Director of Development and Marketing, at 941-556-3253.