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Dentistry from the Heart to offer free smiles
Dental pic
Dr. Robert A. McCulla and Amber Runnells operate on the first patient of the day at last years Dentistry from the Heart event. - photo by Photo Contributed

For the past three years, local dentist Robert A. McCulla has changed lives – and smiles – in the Turlock community by hosting a free day of dentistry to anyone who needs dental work. This year marks the fourth annual Dentistry from the Heart event, providing care to those who may be too scared to go to the dentist or simply cannot afford it.

In the past three events, McCulla and his team of volunteers have treated over 225 patients in need of fillings, extractions and cleanings. This year’s event promises to be the largest one yet, said Marketing Coordinator Kathryn McCulla.

“It’s grown every year,” said Kathryn. “We saw the most people we’ve ever had line up last year.”

DFTH is a national, non-profit organization created to aid those in need of dental care, especially the growing population of under-insured Americans.

“It’s our way of giving back,” said Kathryn. “There are so many people without dental insurance or who have MediCal and can’t get into an office for months.”

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 Robert McCulla in a released statement. This year, McCulla will be joined by local oral surgeons Victor Pak and Jacob Barber. The Tower Pharmacy will also be joining the DFTH event for the second year in a row by providing antibiotics.

The event will take place this Saturday at Turlock Dental Care at 990 Delbon Ave. Starting at 8 a.m., McCulla and his volunteers will treat the first 90 patients on a first-come, first-serve basis until 4 p.m. According to Kathryn, the dentists will try to fit in as many patients as possible, with last year’s event going past 4 p.m. and providing care to approximately 115 people.

“We like to give a conservative estimate of 90 people, but we do typically go over that number,” said Kathryn. “We try our best to see as many patients as possible.”

For more information about the event, email or visit the organization’s national website at