Gardnerville woman gets new dentures

Jean Henton, 73, hadn't had teeth in two decades until she walked into Frank Raschilla's exam room at the Sierra View Dental Center in the Gardnerville Ranchos Tuesday morning.

She left there about an hour later with a new set of dentures, compliments of Sierra View and Carson Valley Residential Care Center, where she moved three months ago.

"I used to eat corn on the cob and steak," said Henton while waiting in the dental chair to have her dentures fitted. "I could chew anything without my teeth. I'd gum it to death."

Henton received $1,500 from the residential care center's Adopt an Elder program and about $2,000 in services from Sierra View Dental Center to pay for her new choppers.

"I don't know why they picked me," said Henton, who received her last pair of ill-fitting dentures about 30 years ago. "People probably need (the money) more than I do. I don't like to be given anything free."

Henton was born in Burley, Idaho, and moved back and forth across the country a couple of times before settling first in Gardnerville for 10 years, then Topaz for 18 years.

Her last home before moving to the Carson Valley Residential Care Center in the Gardnerville Ranchos was a residential care center in Dayton that closed down. She and four other seniors at the Dayton center were moved to the Carson Valley center. She is one of about 14 residents at the residential care center who are considered low income, and her rent is subsidized through Medicaid.

Last year, center administrator Karen Perry decided to start a new program to raise money to help supplement the needs of seniors living at the center.

More than $4,000 was raised in the first year of the Adopt an Elder project, which concluded on Halloween with a bingo party at the center where participants won donated prizes.

Prior to the bingo party, Perry had gone door-to-door to visit businesses, local families and individuals to ask for contributions.

"My goal was $2,000, and we doubled it," said Perry.

"Our community really stepped up to the plate."

With the remaining $2,500, the center purchased supplies for residents such as belts, shoes, underwear and provided money to pay for activities.

This year Perry has set her sights even higher.

"I got to thinking, if I can raise $20,000 a year, it will keep people from moving out and ending up in nursing homes," said Perry.

Fundraising would supplement rent at the center as well as provide quality hearing aids, walkers and other essential items that Medicaid doesn't pay for.

Perry is planning future fundraising events and contacting local organizations asking them to adopt individuals for one year. Checks should be made out to the nonprofit Young At Heart, and dropped off or mailed to Carson Valley Residential Care Center, 1189 Kimmerling Road, Gardnerville, NV 89460. For more information, call the center at 265-1400 or visit

Henton, who used to dance the jitterbug and gave others medical treatment while working as a licensed practical nurse for almost 50 years, now has medical problems of her own. Among them is a condition of the legs caused by diabetes, arthritis in her hands and feet and a dislocated shoulder from falling down a lot. She fell down while walking into the dental center on Tuesday, but didn't think she was injured.

Despite her ailments, Perry said Henton is "happy every day."

"I've got to live with it. I might as well make the best of it," said Henton.

Dr. Raschilla said the dental center donates dental work for worthy causes once in a while. He expected Henton to have a little trouble at first with her new dentures, but because her "bone support" was good, she should get used to them pretty quickly, he said.

"One of the most rewarding things to do is that ... to give her her self confidence back," said Raschilla.

According to Perry, at Christmas time Henton walked around the residential center singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth."

Although Henton acted thrilled to receive her full set of teeth on Tuesday, there was one thing still concerning her.

"I won't know how to act, I haven't had teeth for so long," she said.

Her eyes widened when asked what she looked forward to eating the most.

"A steak," she said, without hesitation.


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