By April Basler | abasler@atljewishtimes.com

For Dr. Hugh Flax and his team at Flax Dental in Sandy Springs, giving back is a priority.

Flax, who heads the cosmetic and restorative dental practice, is involved with the community. He supports charitable programs and provides scholarships to the next generation of dental professionals.

The award-winning cosmetic dentist is an international lecturer, a past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a founder of the Georgia Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Through the Knowledge Matters Flax Dental Scholarship Program, Flax Dental is awarding one $500 scholarship to a student in a dental assistant program and another $500 scholarship to someone in a dental hygienist program. Flax Dental also is offering a $1,700 scholarship through the AACD Apex scholarship program, which sends select students to the academy’s Annual Scientific Session.

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Hugh Flax

According to Flax, The cost of a dental education has dramatically increased since he attended school in the 1980s, Flax said, so he offers the scholarships to alleviate the financial burden many students face.

“I have been lucky to have been mentored by many great people and, along the way, had the privilege of mentoring others,” Flax said. “Along the way, I realized that after being in the profession for 30 years, I want to try and contribute to the future of the profession.”

Flax Dental participates in a program called Give Back a Smile, which provides free cosmetic dental care to victims of domestic violence, and buys back Halloween candy from young patients and sends it to troops overseas. In conjunction with Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April, Flax Dental provides free oral cancer screenings to the community. Flax Dental also is part of a winter coat drive with One Warm Coat, which provides coats to people in need.

In May, Flax Dental participated in Red Nose Day, a campaign dedicated to raising money for children living in poverty by having fun and making people laugh. Flax found out about Red Nose Day while visiting New Orleans when he and his wife, Robyn, saw red noses being sold at a drugstore.

“I looked into it and realized what a great idea this was to contribute to kids that are not well off,” Flax said. “We decided, why limit it to my family and my professional family? Why not get the patients involved? That was one of the most fun days we’ve had recently. Patients liked it. It’s nice when you can have fun and do something that actually has significance as well.”

Flax used to live in New Orleans, and he set up a humanitarian fund for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The AACD Disaster Relief Fund has raised over $100,000 for victims of Katrina and other disasters. Flax recently received the AACD Humanitarian of the Year Award to honor those efforts.

Flax also makes a donation every year to Camp Twin Lakes, which serves children facing serious illnesses, and his older daughter, Lindsey, is a camp counselor there and at the Marcus Jewish Community Center. His younger daughter, Brenna, works on the waterfront at Camp Barney Medintz.

The family lives in Alpharetta and helped found Congregation Dor Tamid in Johns Creek.

Although treating patients, teaching and writing keep Flax working seven days a week, he said he has been blessed, and it is important to him to share those blessings.

“I know that for every person that I treat and every person that I teach, there is a ripple effect that goes on,” he said. “I’m making a difference not in just one person’s life, but in multiple lives. There are people that are less fortunate than I am, and it’s my duty to give back to others.”