Part of a dentist's job is to put smiles on people's faces. In Rockton, those smiles come, not just from quality dental work, but from not having to pay for it. "Dentistry from the Heart" is one day event is all about giving back to the community.
People began lining up in front of Rockton Dental Care at 3:30 this morning. Over the course of the day nearly 200 patients saw a dentist for free.
"What we're giving away is a free cleaning, a free filling, or a free extraction," explains Kit Cline, Rockton Dental Care's Office Manager.
Those services would normally cost someone without insurance anywhere from 100 to 500 dollars.
Cline says, "I think last year we gave a way $38,000 in free dentistry. we're going to blow that away this year."
The dentists won't make a cent off the event. They say their payment comes in a different way.
"We get a lot of hugs and smiles from the patients coming through today," says Dr. Ken O'Brien, owner of Rockton Dental Care. "Our patients tell us all year long what a great idea it was. They appreciate what we have done so it does come back to us."
Melvin Kruse came to last year's "Dentistry from the Heart" day. He's back for a filling. "I haven't had insurance for a little bit so I'm very grateful. I told them this was the nicest things that happened to me last year," he says.
Many of the other patients are like Kruse. Some are unemployed. Others spend what they can on their children's health and neglect their own.
"It's tough right now with the economy and everything so people need this kind of care. There's cases of periodontal disease and things that are tied in with diabetes, and a number of other health conditions so it's very important to maintain your teeth," says Cline.
Dentistry from the Heart is a national organization, so if you missed the Rockton event, there are several other opportunities to receive free dental care in Illinois this year. You can find the locations on the website.
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