Representatives from Life Bridges, a local organization that serves such individuals, recently presented Dr. Royce McBride with a plaque to recognize his years of service to the Life Bridges community.
“Going to the dentist is a scary thing for a lot of people,” Life Bridges CEO Diana Jackson said.
What is scary for your average person on the street can be even scarier for someone with an intellectual disability, she said.
That, Jackson explained, is what makes McBride’s work and support so special.
“He has provided services to our clients for many years,” Jackson said. “For that, we are grateful.”
McBride said he first began welcoming the clients of Life Bridges to his office for their dental care about 40 years ago. Shortly after he opened his practice, currently located on Mouse Creek Road, he met a Life Bridges employee who told him about what the organization did.
McBride said he was intrigued, so he visited. After learning more about the organization and meeting some of the people there, McBride began making regular visits to the organization and making it known that he would welcome any of the clients to his office for dental checkups.
Jackson estimated McBride had helped about 170 different Life Bridges clients over the years, primarily those who have resided in the organization’s group homes.
While McBride’s is a traditional dental office that accepts payment, she said some clients have been in need of help but unable to afford the office visits. Still, McBride continued to welcome those with intellectual disabilities who could only pay him in smiles.
“He some times did it at no charge,” Jackson said.
Jackson also explained that it takes a patient and understanding dentist to deal with how some people with special needs handle their fears of going to the dentist.
There have been things like tears and bathroom accidents over the years, but McBride said he has enjoyed the laughter and smiles he has gotten when his patients have realized that he isn’t so scary after all.
McBride stressed that the happy moments of getting to know the patients have outweighed the nervous moments some have had.
He said he and the members of his staff, many of whom have been with his office for more than 20 years, have benefited from the relationships they have made with Life Bridges clients over the years.
“It’s been a blessing to us and our staff,” McBride said. “The people are outstanding.”
His willingness to take on patients with special needs “in the best of times and in the worst of times” for 40 years was what prompted Life Bridges staff to honor McBride and to present him with a plaque.
Jackson and Dr. Raymond Brown, chairman of the Life Bridges board, gave him the memento of appreciation, which acknowledged both the ups and the downs he has faced with their shared clients over the years.
“Presented to Dr. Royce McBride in recognition and appreciation for forty years of dedicated service by providing dental care to the citizens of our community with intellectual disabilities,” it reads. “Your dedication and commitment are highly recognized. In the best of times and in the worst of times, you have been faithful. We love you!”
The honor was “presented by the individuals served, board and staff.”
After the plaque presentation and a barrage of thank-yous, Jackson again stressed the impact McBride has had on the clients of her organization.
“He has positively affected the health and well-being of the people of Life Bridges,” Jackson said.