Smile Power

Tent City Outreach
As of 2015 Medicaid started offering free dental insurance to WA residents living at or below poverty level. Most of our friends at tent city qualify for this benefit (which we would prefer them have regular care through a provider than emergency care though our bi-annual donated dental events). Thus our local outreach has evolved to an educational focus. Drs. Ellen Reh and Jeff Zent are designing a 'peers teaching peers' program to address the dental disease in young adults right here in our own back yard. The tent city outreach will resume if the free benefits are retracted as they change every year.

Twice a year, we partner with the two tent cities that are located just east of Seattle -  Tent City 4  and Camp Unity, Eastside. Their permits allow them to 'camp' rotating between church parking lots every 90 days.  Here's where all Seattle area tent cities are currently located

Watch YouTube videos of previous Dental Days:  April;  December

This outreach is always such an amazing experience - so many generous and compassionate dental and non-dental professionals volunteer their time.  And the tent city residents are always such genuinely appreciative and kind people - each with a story of their own.  Read Sam's Story

Look at the difference a few teeth make...


Each told us their confidence and self-esteem were instantly lifted and that they were now ready to face the world and get that job that no one would hire them for before.

Numbers from our previous Dental Outreach partnering with the residents of Camp Unity, Eastside

Too many different procedures to list but here are the main one:
•28 patients
•4 root canals
•29 fillings
•61 extracts
•Numerous deep cleanings,  x-rays
•15 Dentures
•$45,000 of billable dental services
•$150,000 at 4 most recent local dental outreaches


This total does not include donated labor of volunteers or...the priceless value of the love and compassion residents felt from the dentists, hygienists, assistants and drivers!

THANK YOU to all volunteers for transforming our neighbor’s lives; for giving them back their smiles so they can get that job, enjoy holiday foods again and regain their health.

And a HUGE thank you to YOU.  None of these neighbors would be receiving their smiles without your generous donations!

for more updated photos...

Or check back frequently for the upcoming stories on how your support has transformed these lives...

Can you imagine the emotion you would feel seeing
your no-missing-teeth smile for the first time in years?!

Comments from previous dental day volunteers:

Steve Burke, one of the drivers taking residents to and from TC4 and the dental office, said that everyone he talked to was very anxious about going to a dentist and would have run had they not needed to see a dentist so badly.  But on the ride back to Tent City all said, "Those were the nicest most generous dental people that I have ever seen.

An other ISP volunteer said she was shocked and saddened that in our own backyard, there were so many people whose teeth were in really bad shape.  One resident had to have 14 teeth pulled - half of the teeth in his mouth!  She said, “We are used to seeing that in remote, impoverished areas of developing countries, but never fathomed that we would find that here east of Seattle.”

What is Tent City 4?

Tent City 4 is a homeless encampment of up to 100 people operated by the homeless residents and sponsored by 501(c)(3) organizations Seattle Housing and Resources Effort (SHARE) and Women’s Housing Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL).
The camp was created in May 2004 and limits itself to places of worship in eastern King County outside of Seattle. Minors are not allowed in Tent City 4, although there is a provision for emergency situations. Residents may use their own tents or community tents that are segregated by gender. Dumpsters, portable toilets, and a shower, paid for by SHARE, are provided to address sanitation concerns. In order to control access to the encampment, there is only one entry/exit to the camp that is guarded at all times. See for more information.  *


Ready to join us?  Please email