You’re never fully dressed without a smile, and with dentists like Dr. Mark Garner doling out free dental care to those who need it, you never have to be without one. Operating at Orchard Meadows Family
Dental in Rapid City, South Dakota, Garner provided free dental care to 50 people as part of an annual event supported by Dentistry From The Heart (DFTH). The international nonprofit works with dentists across the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to provide dental care to anyone in need. Garner is one of the organization’s faithful volunteers, making this his third free dental care event in the past three years.
“There are individuals in our community who need preventative dental care,” Garner explained in an interview with Kota TV. “I am lucky enough to have the ability to give back to my community to those who are unemployed or who do not have dental insurance. Dentistry From The Heart event offers the capability to give back to residents in Rapid City and the surrounding areas now more than ever.”
According to experts, dental hygiene appointments should be made on a biannual basis. However, within the US alone, 100 million people are without dental insurance. This is because even simple procedures such as extractions and cleanings can cost between $190 to $180 respectively. Consequently, over 29 percent of adults live with untreated cavities.
But dentists like Garner recognize the value of a pearly-white smile, believing self-esteem to be priceless, if not a great beneficiary to overall health. On Friday, June 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Garner, along with his staff and volunteers, treated 50 patients. Patients could choose one of several options, including fillings, extractions, and cleanings.
Within the previous two years, Garner and his staff have managed to provide free dental services to over 120 people in the Rapid City area. This approximates over $20,000 in dental work. For Garner however, it’s his way of giving back to the locals who have supported his practice. “So we’ve seen an awful lot of people today who’ve been putting up with dental issues for a very long time because they have no other resources…I think that there’s a great need in our community for services like this,” he told Black Hills Fox.
One patient, Dloria Baker, represents the grateful voices of countless others who have been helped by Garner’s complimentary services. On the event day, Baker received a free extraction, describing the operation as “relieving.”
“You know with what is going on in our world today, people don’t have things to smile about,” Baker commented. “But, you know what? When we come here, we can come out and we can smile again.”
Events like Garner’s are held by dentists worldwide with the help and support of DFTH. Since its founding in 2001 by dentist Dr. Vincent J. Monticciolo, the Florida-based nonprofit has made providing the uninsured with complimentary dental care its mission.
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