In support of February’s Gum Disease Awareness Month, local Tallahassee periodontist Walter Colon, DMD MS, hosted the 3rd annual Dentistry from the Heart event Saturday at Periodontal Associates of North Florida and provided free dental care to local residents.
More than 15 dentists and 50 other dental associates from across Tallahassee volunteered their time and expertise to give patients 18 years or older dental treatment. Extractions, fillings or routine cleanings were provided for residents who came out to the event.
Colon explained that dentists and dental associates wanted to find a way to provide charity for those in need.
“We want to give back to the community that has given so much to us and our families. It is an amazing opportunity to meet people and for them to meet us. In the process, we can help people which is what this profession is all about,” Colon said.
The Center for Advancing Health reported close to 130 million Americans are without dental insurance at the year-end of 2015.
Hopeful patient Theresa Bradley is one of the 130 million Americans without insurance. She said that’s why this event is so important.
“It’s a blessing to be able to get this work done for free,” Bradley said.
Meredith Beckham, marketing and communications director for periodontal associates of North Florida, provided insight on the expectations the event holders had.
“With the weather being this cold, we weren’t sure how the turnout would be. But seeing how many people showed up was amazing. The line was wrapped around the corner an hour before registration started, which was 7:30 a.m.,” Beckham said. “Being able to provide free dental care for the community is something that makes us so happy.”
Residents of the community, like Earl Robertson, were more than grateful for the opportunity they were given. Robertson, who attended the event last year, said dentists go above and beyond for the community and he’s grateful.
“You know since it’s free that the dentist and people involved are doing this from the sincerity of their heart. Not only are they giving us free dental work, but they also gave us doughnuts and coffee for breakfast and pizza for lunch. (They’re) just going above and beyond for the community and all we can say is thank you,” Robertson said.
More than 130 patients showed up for the event, which is the largest turnout for the Dentistry from the Heart program.