Patients often cry (happy tears) after seeing how dentist Dr. Tupta has restored their smile.
“Someone comes in, and they’re having discomfort, and they’ve been up all night,” Dr. Tupta said. “I remove the tooth, treat the problem. And they are so overjoyed. In some ways, you can see results right there.”
Dr. Michael Tupta loves seeing the immediate impact that dentistry has on people’s lives. He’s volunteered at West Virginia Health Right for over 20 years, where he provides free dental care to West Virginians who otherwise couldn’t afford these services.
People often come in with tooth decay, chipped teeth, or pain and swelling.
“Whenever someone has a dark tooth or missing tooth or pain or swelling, they don’t engage with people as much as they normally would. They don’t smile as much,” Dr. Tupta said. “Whenever you give someone their smile back, and they feel good about how they look, it changes their attitude and how they view their day, their work, their relationships.”
Dr. Tupta is most passionate about cosmetic dentistry: helping improve the appearance of people’s smiles. But during his long tenure as a WV Health Right volunteer, he has also done many dental screenings and tooth extractions to help patients live pain-free.
“It’s a privilege for me to be able to help someone who is having healthcare issues. I’ve been given so much in my life. People have helped me, and it’s just paying it forward,” said Dr. Tupta, remembering the wisdom he was given by his late partner and mentor, Dr. Daniel Taylor, also a longtime WV Health Right volunteer.
After Dr. Taylor retired, he made thousands of dentures for WV Health Right patients. He and Dr. Tupta shared a commitment to community. They shared a belief that all West Virginians deserve to live healthy lives. And Dr. Tupta hopes other healthcare providers will join them in embracing these values.
“I would encourage any healthcare provider to seriously consider helping and lending a hand. Now’s the time to get in the game, roll up your sleeves, and give five hours however often you can,” Dr. Tupta said. “You get back way more than what you give. Every time I walk out of there, I just feel so good that I’ve helped someone. I don’t need to be paid. I’m being paid with the smile on your face.”