chris fabian


For the millions of people with health insurance in the U.S., dental care rarely requires a second thought. But for Phoenix resident Chris, being able to take care of her children’s teeth was unaffordable for the single mother of two, juggling daily living expenses like food, clothing and rent.

Chris was all too aware of how important proper dental care was for her sons Imanol (12) and Max (4). Without insurance, however, she couldn’t provide her boys with dental care. Then something changed.

“Almost two years ago, I saw a flyer offering free cleanings for kids at the St. Vincent de Paul Dental Clinic,” Chris said. “I can’t tell you how meaningful it was for me that somebody could help me take care of my sons at no cost.”

Aside from routine dental cleanings every six months, the clinic was able to help Imanol, who needed a space maintainer to make room for permanent teeth. Chris couldn’t afford the retainer, but the staff at St. Vincent de Paul set up an appointment at another clinic and made sure her son got the care he needed.

“St. Vincent de Paul took care of everything – they made the appointment and made sure we didn’t have to pay anything,” Chris said. The clinic follows up at least twice a year to make sure Imanol and Max have their teeth cleaned consistently.

“My kids think it’s fun to go to the dentist – they’ve learned how to brush their teeth properly, they get new toothbrushes and floss,” she continued. “Everyone there is so professional – they’re always willing to help. If they can’t provide a service, they figure out who can. I don’t know what I’d do without them.”

St. Vincent de Paul is a 2016 recipient of $375,000 Access to Care Grant from Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children: The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

patient story edith velarde



When Edith V. learned that her children needed physical exams required by their school, she had no idea where to turn – especially without access to health insurance. This mother of four – Juan (18), Marisol (15), Edith (11) and Manual (10) – never expected to be able to provide each of them with health care and dental care without spending money she didn’t have.

One afternoon, her oldest son, Juan, brought a brochure home from school that contained information about the St. Vincent de Paul Clinic. Today – 12 years after her first visit there in 2004 – she has been able to ensure her children have proper physical exams in addition to dental care like braces, and even other health services.

“I don’t want to even think about what I would have done if I didn’t have access to the clinic,” said Edith. “My children wouldn’t have had the luxury of having beautiful smiles had it not been for everything they’ve done for us.”

For Edith’s daughter Marisol, the clinic paid for an entire dental surgery in order to transform Marisol’s smile – something she absolutely would not have been able to afford otherwise. Edith understood that regular orthodontics would be taken care of at the clinic, but she was surprised to learn the entire surgery had been free, including x-rays.

Edith’s son Juan even received a skincare consultation after using a topical acne treatment that aggravated his skin. Once the clinic confirmed the lotion was giving him a rash, they helped him find a better solution.

“The clinic has helped me and my family in ways I wouldn’t have been able to imagine,” Edith continued. “I never thought something like this was out there. I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done for my kids and their smiles.”