Scottsdale dentist teams up with Devin Booker to provide free dental care to those in need

A dentist has teamed up with Phoenix Suns player Devin Booker to support local athletes in need, partnering with Special Olympics Arizona to provide dental care for the next 10 years.

Booker has been showing off his winning smile recently, and it was important for him to have others to feel that confidence. Therefore, he teamed up with studio b smiles to provide free dental care to athletes with special needs.

A smile means so many things.

"It exudes confidence, and it's something that when people are smiling, they usually feel pretty good," said Dr. John Badolato, a cosmetic dentist with Studio B Smiles in Scottsdale.

That is why Booker and his foundation, along with Dr. Badolato, wanted to do something more for the special needs community.

"Many times special athletes do have dental needs, and sometimes they are not met, so we reached out to Special Olympics Arizona, asked if there was a need, they said 'yes, there is,'" said Dr. Badolato.

"There is a significant number of athletes that have a need for dental treatment, whether it's untreated tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis, and this is a good opportunity for them to access that," said Gianna Zola, Health & Advocacy Senior Coordinator with Special Olympics Arizona.

Booker, via his Starting Five Initiative, has already pledged $250,000 in free dental care. Zola says Booker has played a big role in the organization, and so many look up to him.

"To have Devin’s name tied into this kind of partnership and the services that are offered is really exciting to them, because they associate Devin with what they love, which is sports, and that sense of community that sports brings is really what drives the Special Olympics," said Zola.

Dr. Badolato says being a part of this partnership brings him so much joy.

"When we can help people like special athletes in need, the feeling you get when you see them smile is priceless," said Dr. Badolato. "You can’t pay me any amount of money to make me feel like I do when I see what we've done."

Dr. Badolato says he hopes to start the screening process this fall.

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