Dentist Gives Free Makeover for Recovering Addict

By Victoria Kim 05/12/15

Dr. James Patterson was recognized in drug court alongside his patient, Jackie Carreno.


A recovering drug addict was given a second chance when a local dentist performed thousands of dollars worth of work on her teeth free of charge.

Dr. James Patterson was recognized for his work, which took about a month, in family drug court last month alongside his patient, Jackie Carreno. The dental makeover was a huge confidence boost for the 32-year-old Carreno, whose teeth were in terrible shape after years of drug use.

Patterson, who received some compensation from the family drug court in the end, said he “did not hesitate” when he was approached by former Yellowstone County prosecutor Gayle Stewart about helping Carreno.

Carreno entered drug court in Billings, Montana in December 2013. Today, she has been sober for almost two years and is looking forward to graduating from the Yellowstone County Family Drug Treatment Court.

“Everything is different now. My whole life is back on track,” Carreno said. She now does community work and is planning to enroll at Montana State University Billings to become a licensed addiction counselor. “I couldn’t have done any of that without the dental work,” she said.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr