Paxton Special Needs Dentistry Endowment

February 23, 2023

Transformational gift will provide sustained support for special care dentistry

Dr. John Paxton graduated from the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine’s class of 1975 and went on to practice in Greenville, South Carolina, for over 30 years with the help of his wife, Mrs. Lil Paxton. Together, they also raised a daughter who was born with cerebral palsy. 

“Everybody is unique. You accept the person, as the person is, and learn to work with that individual,” says Lil, speaking of her experience in the practice and at home.

Always generous supporters of the college, when the Paxtons began to explore options for long-term giving, they were drawn to the college’s Pamela Kaminski Clinic for Adolescents and Adults with Special Health Care Needs and knew that this was where they wanted to make a lasting difference.

“We’ve always contributed, one way or another. We wanted to do something that would benefit people with special needs,” said Lil.

The Dr. and Mrs. John H. Paxton Special Needs Dentistry Endowment will provide unrestricted, annual support for special needs dentistry.

Inclusive dental care at MUSC

Nearly 7 years ago, the Medical University of South Carolina opened its James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine’s Pamela Kaminski Special Care Dental Center for Adults and Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs, under Ziegler’s direction. The development of MUSC’s Special Needs Network of Dentists, known as Project SANDS and funded by The Duke Endowment, helped connect more adults with special needs to dental care providers. Two years ago, the clinic expanded to include the Delta Dental of South Carolina Accessible Treatment area to make it more welcoming for patients who present in wheel chairs or stretchers.

A Positive Exposure portrait gallery opened in 2022 and puts diversity in focus by featuring ambassadors of the clinic.

Today, more than 500 patients with a variety of special health care needs, ranging from adolescents with autism to cancer patients to seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, have called this clinic their dental home.