A smile is worth a thousand words, and local dentist Dr. Robert McCulla of Turlock Dental Care is helping to keep the community’s pearly whites looking their best by hosting the fifth annual Dentistry From The Heart event – a free day of dentistry for those who may be too scared to go to the dentist or are unable to afford it.
In the past four events, Dr. McCulla and his team of dentists, sponsors and volunteers have helped over 350 people in need of dental work, providing fillings, extractions and cleanings free of charge. The event has grown in size and participation every year, said Marketing Coordinator Kathryn McCulla, and this year’s event is aiming to help as many patients as possible.
“People are usually lining up for the event the night before,” said Kathryn. “We tell the first 100 people we will definitely see them, but there are usually several more waiting so we’re hoping to serve them as well.”
DFTH is a national, non-profit organization created to aid those in need of dental care, especially the growing population of under-insured Americans. According to DFTH, over 100 million Americans lack dental insurance, and over 29 percent of adults have untreated cavities. To date, DFTH has helped over 5,000 patients and provided over $1 million in dental care.
“Now more than ever, I know there are people out there that need our services, but have no means to afford them, whether they’re out of a job, or just don’t have dental insurance,” said Dr. McCulla. “This Dentistry From The Heart event is my way of giving back to the community and being there for the people who are in need of dental work.”
Along with the cost of dental treatment, Kathryn added that fear is a common reason why many tend to put off trips to the dentist. Through the DFTH event, Turlock Dental Care hopes to provide a comfortable place where those who are wary of the dentist’s office can receive reliable care.
“Fear can be a huge issue,” said Kathryn. “We make our office a really welcoming place, and this event is an open process, too.”
Hoping to welcome patients this year will be the largest group of doctors the event has seen yet, including three dentists and three oral surgeons. This year, Dr. McCulla will be joined by local oral surgeons Dr. Victor Pak, Dr. Jacob Barber and Dr. Stan Baker, as well as dentists Dr. Sal Souza of Turlock and Dr. Andrew McCormick of Santa Rosa. For the third year, The Tower Pharmacy will contribute antibiotics for the event.
“This is our favorite day of the year,” said Kathryn. “It definitely brings together the dental community, with the doctors and staff that are giving their time. It just shows how much they care about getting people the treatment they need.”
The DFTH event will take place starting at 8 a.m. on April 29 at Turlock Dental Care, 990 Delbon Ave. Beginning at 8 a.m., Dr. McCulla and his volunteers will treat the first 100 patients on a first-come, first-serve basis until 4 p.m., but are hoping to fit in as many patients as possible. For more information about the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the organization’s national website at www.dentistryfromtheheart.org.