Free Dental Work for Artists

Volume CVI, No. 6June, 2006

Need to improve your image? “Broadway Smiles” is a new program that will make cosmetic dentistry procedures available to young professional performers at reduced or no cost. The New York University College of Dentistry’s Center for Continuing Dental Education will be providing this new service and the Actors’ Fund has agreed to administer the eligibility of individuals applying for these procedures.

“Young performers may wish to have spaces between their teeth corrected or missing, misshapen, uneven or discolored teeth repaired,” said Assistant Dean H. Kendall Beacham, “and this will provide them with an opportunity to avoid becoming self-conscious about their appearance. We hope it leads to further employment.”

“We are very excited about this opportunity to offer these services to the people who need them,” said Joseph Benincasa, Executive Director of the Actors’ Fund. “It fits into the mission of The Fund which is to help all professionals in the performing arts and entertainment maintain a career in their chosen field. And we are especially pleased to be partnering with one of the finest dental schools in the world.”

Performers wishing to participate in “Broadway Smiles” may apply through the Actors’ Fund whose criteria will be similar to other Fund programs offering financial assistance. Inasmuch as the program is specifically aimed at performers who are in the early stages of their career, the industry-earnings requirements will be adjusted accordingly. The application procedure will be quick and efficient and require only one visit to the Fund. Those qualifying will then proceed to NYU for an evaluation by the dental team.

Each participant will be checked for general dental health, and the aesthetic treatments ordered for them may include tooth colored fillings, bleaching, bonding, laminates and crowns. The dentists providing the services are experienced professionals who are expanding their practices by learning the techniques of aesthetic dentistry under the Center’s Director, Dr. Stephen J. Chu.

Initial funding for the program was made possible by a gift from Dr. Irwin and Lucia Smigel, whose son Robert is a well-known comedy writer and performer. Veteran television and theatrical producer Roy A. Somlyo organized the program and brought the college and fund together.

Individuals interested in participating in the “Broadway Smiles” program may contact the Actors’ Fund at (212) 221-7300 for further information. Applications will be taken immediately although the program will get fully underway in September.