BY RITA J. EGAN
Thanks to Stony Brook dentist Dr. Harry
Boutis, Denise Marino, 75, can smile again
after the dentist donated his services to replace
The two were connected through the
elder law firm Genser, Dubow, Genser &
Cona’s Senior Dreams Come True program,
which grants the wishes of low-income seniors.
Marino, a former corrections officer
and great-grandmother, said her 45-yearold
dentures, top full and bottom partial,
were extremely worn down, and when she
heard that her wish to get new dentures was
going to be granted she was thrilled.
Boutis, who helped with a previous wish,
said he became involved with the program
through his patient Melissa Negrin-Wiener,
a partner in the Melville law firm and one of
the founders of Senior Dreams Come True.
Marino said she heard about the organization
from her niece, who told her all she had
to do was write a letter to the nonprofit.
“I was very surprised, and I thought,
‘Gee, I’ll try it and see what happens,’” she
said in a phone interview.
Marino said before receiving the new
dentures she was hesitant to smile, and it
looked like she didn’t have any teeth and
her top lip was sinking in. Boutis, who has
been practicing dentistry for 23 years, said
a full set of teeth is required for much more
“Having a full set of teeth is of the utmost
of importance due to function for
chewing and eating, facial support and soft
tissues, and just as importantly the patient’s
mental well-being and self-confidence,” the
Boutis said Marino needed to visit the office
eight times for appointments that lasted
30 to 45 minutes long. During the time Senior
Dreams Come True was helping Marino get
her dentures made, the great-grandmother
said she was also having car problems so the
firm’s legal assistant Janet Russell would pick
her up and take her to all her appointments.
Marino, who raised six children and got
her first dentures when she was 30, said she is
a “chicken” when it comes to going to the dentist
but Boutis made her visits pleasant ones.
“Dr. Boutis is such a wonderful, wonderful
man,” she said.” He makes you feel so
comfortable and he talks to you, and he’s
just a real person.”
Marino said after receiving her new dentures
she can’t stop smiling.
“It’s so wonderful to have teeth,” she said.
Boutis said he was also pleased with
“I was ecstatic with the result we
achieved for Denise,” the dentist said. “Being
such a nice person that she is, her happiness
and new smile are the rewards that
make practicing this profession what it’s all
about,” the dentist said.
Negrin-Wiener said Senior Dreams
Come True started after she and her fellow
elder law attorneys, who are involved with
many different medical causes such as Alzheimer’s
research, realized there weren’t
any organizations to raise money for seniors’
The lawyer said in order for a person
to qualify for a wish they must be over 65
years old, and a couple cannot make more
than $2,000 a month and a single person
can make no more than $1,500. The organization
just asks the hopeful wish-recipient
to write a paragraph about his or her life,
and they also look for people who have
been involved in their communities.
She said when it comes to requests,
“They aren’t asking for lavish things.”
The attorney said people have wished for
simple items such as mattresses and ramps,
and dentures have been a popular request.
She said the program will even help pay for
a trip, which was the case with a Smithtown
woman who couldn’t afford to go see her
The program also brought Marino’s car
to a mechanic to get it repaired. Negrin-
Wiener said there are no limits on the
amount of granted wishes one can receive.
“We fundraise throughout the year, and
we grant wishes on a rolling basis,” she
said. “It just depends what the wishes are,
if we get help from the community and
what we are able to do financially at that
point in time.”
Marino said she has been telling everyone
she knows about Senior Dreams Come
True and handing out pamphlets.
“I couldn’t have done it without them,
because I’m on Social Security,” Marino
said. “I just get a little over a $1,000 a
month to live on, and what they’ve done
for me is just amazing. They’re my little