For more than 20 years, Dr. Clark Cash has been bringing smiles to people’s faces right here in Frankfort and around the world.

The Cynthiana native, 1986 University of Kentucky dental graduate and 1989 orthodontics graduate has been practicing in Frankfort since 1992. He’s been in his current location, at 635 Comanche Trail, for 25 years.

“Over 25 years, we’ve seen probably 300-plus patients a year,” Cash said. “I’m into the second generation of patients. The kids that I’ve seen, I’m treating their kids now.”

Cash has three children. Two of them live in San Francisco. The other is a dental student at UK.

“My children all went to school right here in Frankfort,” Clark said. “I’d love for (Logan, the dental student) to come back here and practice, but that depends if that works out for him.”

Outside of his practice, Cash uses his skills to provide dental care for local residents who can’t afford it, as well as people in foreign countries such as Guatemala, Peru and Brazil. He volunteers for the Frankfort Mission Clinic, and he has gone on several mission trips with area organizations to provide free dental care over seas.

FRANK.: When did you develop a love for dentistry?

Cash: Since my sophomore year of high school I knew I wanted to be a dentist. I love serving people and helping people and I love science, and l love working with my hands.

From middle school through dental school, I worked for electrical contractors. I got to use my hands a lot. I still love working with hands.

FRANK.: What is it about dentistry that appealed to you so much?

Cash: The serving people part. The interest in science branched into a desire to help people in health care.

As a sophomore in high school, I started looking at health care providers and I really admired my dentist. The ability to work with your hands and set your own schedule and have your own business appealed to me.

FRANK.: When did you start the Frankfort Mission Clinic?

Cash: I helped establish the Frankfort Mission Clinic about 16 years ago in 2001. I work as a general dentist down there. It’s in First Baptist Church. They have a medical facility too.

When we started it, the pastor said he knew there was a need in the community and they had plenty of space that was being unused, and they had a passion and desire to do it.

We have a dental clinic, physicians and there’s a pharmacy there. The church funds it, but they get a lot of grants to run the program. The hospital funds parts of it as well.

FRANK.: What other volunteer activities do you do?

Cash: I also do foreign mission trips. I’ve been to Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Thailand and Brazil. I do dentistry on the trips. I got started doing that with a classmate from dental school.

I go with a group from First United Methodist Church. We take a group to Honduras regularly. Sparrow Ministries also goes to Honduras.

FRANK.: What do you personally get out of going on the mission trips?

Cash: The neatest thing is it makes you appreciate your own country — the freedoms and resources that we have here.

The very first trip I went on, I would relate it to stepping back in time 100 years. Being in the mountains of Guatemala was probably the hardest trip I’ve been on. It was very remote. We stayed in villages and camped and didn’t have access to plumbing.

That helped prepare me for the other trips.

The people were so humble and appreciative. They sacrificed a lot for us to be able to come there and help them.

On these mission trips your actually able to experience the culture. You get to mix and blend in with them. And see what their lives are like day in and day out.

I feel humbled because my initial thought was that I was going to go and help them, but I felt like I was more blessed to just have the experience of being with those people. I feel like they gave us more than we gave them.