A day of free dental care will return Friday at the 10th annual Smiles from the Heart event at Chandler Park Dental Care.
The charitable event from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. will include free cleanings, X-rays, fillings and extractions with no appointments.
“This is our 10th year doing this,” said Kerry Berta, the office manager at Chandler Park Dental Care. “It is a free day of dentistry for our community. We realize there is a huge need for it, and we have a lot of patients that look forward to it.”
Berta said the only requirements are that patients must be at least 18 years old and not pregnant.
Led by Chandler Park Dental Care’s three doctors, Dr. Eli Jackson, Dr. Devin Hall and Dr. Austin Delpont, about 10 to 14 dentists will work at the event along with their staffs, according to Berta.
“We have a lot of other dentists from out of state, as far as St. Louis,” Berta said. “We normally see patients starting around 7 a.m. It is a first-come, first-serve basis, and we have never had to turn a patient away. We always have people that have been able to provide the care. We are happy to be able to offer this to our community. We see a lot of people return to get dental care.”
Jackson said the event gains popularity each year.
“It went from 150 the first year, and now we see well over 200 people. We have 50 to 60 volunteers along with the dentists as well,” he said.
Jackson said the idea for this event came from a dental organization in Oklahoma in which he participated.
“We decided to do something similar in our community. We decided to take the leap,” he said.
Jackson hopes those who need dental care will take advantage of the free event.
“Dental care is a basic need,” he said. “If people have pain from their teeth, it is hard to concentrate on their job, and it is hard to provide for their family. It is hard to take care of their loved ones. If they have pain or are discouraged about their appearance, it is really hard to go apply for a job. If you are having trouble with your teeth, it really becomes a quality-of-life issue.”
Jackson said this issue has been in the community since the event began 10 years ago.
“We see it every day in our community,” he said. “We can only do so much in our office, and this day allows us to give back to our community. I wish we could do it more.”
Chandler Park Dental Care is at 1857 Tucker Way in Bowling Green.
For more information, call 270-781-2952.