Dentist’s compassion takes care to another level for Tri-Cities homeless population

Care and compassion.

It’s imprinted in Dr. Ron Elloway’s DNA.

So too, it seems, is dentistry, since he’s one of about 30 dentists in his expanded family circle. And like many of his siblings and relatives, when he’s not tending to patients at his practice, Elgin Dental Group in Port Coquitlam, he has combined his expertise and sense of community service to help those in need.

“We come from a religious background, I’m a third generation, Seventh-day Adventist Christian, and part of that upbringing is to help people in need,” Elloway says.

That’s the philosophy behind Loma Linda University in California, a Seventh-Day Adventist school where many of Elloway’s family members attended.

“Most of my relatives, including my father, sister and brothers all went there,” he says. “It prides itself on teaching medical and dental education so they can train students to become missionaries.”

While Elloway graduated from Georgetown University,that same willingness to help people in need remained at the forefront for him.

“I was on welfare once when I was waiting to pass my boards (exams) at UBC and had a young family with two children,” he says. “Not being able to make a living at what I was trained to do, I told the welfare office that if I could get some support, I’d return the favour to those in need once I was working.”

And he has, ever since he took over the practice from his father more than three decades ago.

When treating the local homeless population, Elloway says he is most often pulling teeth and making dentures for the patient.

“I’ve been given these gifts from God, and I love what I’m doing,” he says. “I really don’t need to work anymore, but I love my staff and what I can do for people.”

Elloway also helps feed the local homeless on a monthly basis, which provides the opportunity to check out their teeth and encourage them to make an appointment at his practice.

“In general, I love getting people out of pain,” he says. “But to help restore someone who has a really deficient smile and return some dignity to them so they can go out into the world, get a job or simply smile at someone else with confidence, it changes their life. To me, that’s very rewarding.”

For more information about Elgin Dental Group and their services including full mouth reconstruction, implants, TMJ therapy, and smile reconstruction, visit their website at, email, or call 604-942-9739.

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