Assistance League’s Cheri Harris Dental Center continues low cost, comprehensive and ongoing dental care to the underserved

It is noteworthy that the early founding member volunteers of the Assistance League® (AL) of Newport-Mesa had the foresight to make dental care accessibility a programmatic priority more than 72 years ago. To this day, the Cheri Harris Dental Center continues its commitment to providing low cost, comprehensive and ongoing dental care to more than 700 underserved children and adults in the community each year.

In its current location at 2220 Fairview, Costa Mesa, the Dental Center is located in the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa headquarters building sharing space with the nonprofit’s Thrift Shop, Treasures on Consignment Shop and business offices. Providing access to low-cost dental care is made possible by funds raised by volunteers through sales in the shops, donations from the community, grants and fundraisers.

Photo courtesy of Assistance League of Newport-Mesa

(L-R) Anne Wong, Sandy Sudweeks and Nancy Yeager, Assistance League members dedicated to managing the Dental Center program

The Dental Program is also dedicated to community outreach. Last year, more than 1,500 dental hygiene kits were distributed through another of the AL’s programs, Operation School Bell, which provides clothing, books and other school essentials to students referred by Newport-Mesa Unified School District facilitators. They firmly believe a student’s self-esteem is improved by bright smiles and new clothes. These programs, managed by volunteers, serve to further AL’s mission to transform the lives of children and families in need.

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Seventeen-year-old Melanie, who received her braces from the Assistance League’s Dental Center, is delighted with her new smile

Dental Center services include general and preventative dentistry, dental and hygiene care, orthodontic and endodontic services, and emergency dental services. The Dental Center’s professional staff includes three dentists, two orthodontists and a hygienist, who take time away from their own local practices to manage the care of the dental and orthodontic patients. The dental staff is assisted by trained member Assistance League volunteers.

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The AL Dental Center team

To determine income qualifications for participation in the program, families should contact the Dental Center office at 949.645.2882 and speak to the office supervisor, who is fluent in English and Spanish, or email MediCal Dental Insurance is accepted and there are reduced rates for patients without insurance.

If you would like to donate to these programs which benefit local children and families in need, donate items to the Thrift Shop, or join AL’s volunteer team, by contacting the Assistance League offices at 949.645.6929, or