The Man Behind the Smiles By Janet Toliver

While most are sheltering in place due to Covid-19, Winston Feng, owner of Buena Park’s First Dental Center (https://www.firstdentalchicago.com/), is leaving the safety of his home and business to keep his neighbors safe. After noticing that many people were walking around without masks, Dr. Feng ordered extra masks to hand out to patients, neighbors, and those who stopped by. In a single day, he handed out more than 300 masks. In addition, he has been volunteering at St. Mary’s food pantry each Sunday to feed families in need. “I wanted to set an example; if I don’t do it, how can I expect others to?” Dr. Feng asked.

Following his post in a neighborhood Facebook page, several people signed up to volunteer at the food pantry. Dr. Feng is noticing how people have to be creative to support others. Sometimes, even a friendly hello “goes a long way” so neighbors do not feel isolated. During this time, Buena Park’s size is a great asset. “It’s smaller, so we should be able to get to know others. You can’t know everyone, but you can try,” Dr. Feng stated.

Creating a sense of community has been central to his journey in being a dentist. His parents built First Dental Center shortly after he was born. In many ways, Dr. Feng grew up alongside the clinic. By spending a lot of his time at the clinic, he grew to know many of the patients individually and they became “extended family.” Inheriting First Dental Center from his parents allowed him to continue these relationships and become a part of the community.

Dentistry allows Dr. Feng to care for people while also working with his hands. He loves doing surgery and being able to transform someone by restoring their smile. Taking away tooth pain and treating diseases offers “instant gratification.” Dr. Feng stated, “It’s really fun to be the one who is responsible and take care of others.”

Along with his dental clinic, Dr. Feng is a co-owner of Piko Street food truck, which serves modern Asian street food. The food truck continues to serve food in various neighborhoods and is providing lunches to healthcare workers throughout the week (to donate, visit their GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/f/c46cg-feed-our-1st-responders). They are donating a portion of their proceeds to local hospitals and individuals.

This devotion to caring for others has translated to taking an active part in the Buena Park community. After moving to Buena Park from the suburbs, Dr. Feng has enjoyed exploring Buena Park. He typically walks his dog, a Golden mix, in the dog beach, even while it is cold. With his dedication to caring for his patients, the first responders, and the neighborhood, Dr. Feng is quickly emerging as a neighborhood staple and leader.

“We’re here if anyone needs,” Dr. Feng stated. He encourages people to reach out and get to know each other so we can begin to support each other. “The more we are connected, the more we can do.”

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