For the past three years, Dentist Cody Gass, DMD, served as a volunteer dentist in the SBL Dental Services program while working full-time in the Mattoon dental office of Drs. Kepp, Kennedy, Gass & Haslett. Dr. Gass is now taking on the role of full-time dentist with SBL Dental Services to provide much-needed dental care to children whose dental needs would likely go unmet.
“Volunteering was a very rewarding experience from the first time I did it,” Dr. Gass said. “Taking the job was something that I wanted to explore, since there’s a huge need in this area, and being able to hit the ground running to take care of those dental needs is going to be rewarding.”
Sarah Bush Lincoln Dental Services is a collaborative community effort that provides dental care at no cost to families that qualify. The program partners with area schools and health departments to provide dental services (preventive and restorative care, plus oral hygiene education) in a seven-county service area that includes Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Effingham, Jasper, Moultrie and Shelby counties.
Dr. Gass will provide care in SBL’s Dental Clinic in Mattoon and on Sarah Bush Lincoln’s new dental bus, which is set to hit the road this fall. The bus replaces the now-inoperable bus that was purchased in 2008. The new bus has two operatories, as well as digital and panoramic X-ray machines. Many local residents helped to purchase the bus by contributing to the SBL Health Foundation’s Mobile Miracle campaign.
Born and raised in Mattoon, Dr. Gass graduated from Mattoon High School in 2009 and earned dual degrees in biology and chemistry from Eastern Illinois University in 2013. He received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 2017 from Southern Illinois University.
Dr. Gass said he appreciated his mother helping people as a nurse and knew he wanted to work in healthcare, as well. “I explored a lot of avenues in healthcare and something always led me back to dentistry. I really enjoy the combination of building relationships with patients and being able to use my hands.”
“Children are a very challenging, exciting and rewarding patient base. They always keep you on your toes. I think the big thing is to gain their trust, whatever it takes,” he said. “Some kids are really apprehensive about coming into the chair, whether it’s for a simple cleaning, a filling or an extraction. It’s very rewarding when I’m able to calm them down, talk them through a procedure and then have them walk out with smiles on their faces, knowing that they’re willing to come back.”
Dr. Gass said he looks forward to traveling on the bus to help eliminate the transportation barrier that sometimes prevents children from receiving dental care. “This job is exciting, challenging and very rewarding because I’m able to make a difference in the quality of children’s lives,” he said.
Dr. Gass and his wife, Megan, have three young children. He enjoys traveling, golf, cooking and watching sports, in his free time.
For more information on SBL Dental Services, or to schedule an appointment for a screening, please call 1-877-511-2602 (toll-free).