Dentists prepare to give East Texans a day of free dental care - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Dentists prepare to give East Texans a day of free dental care


Dentistry from the Heart is a non-profit organization that has given more than $8 million in free dental care to more than 45,000 people across the United States.

Organizers hope to add more than 200 East Texans to that number on Saturday.

Dental hygienist Connie Gulley is one of hundreds of volunteers who are gearing up to put on the 9th annual Dentistry from the Heart event in Tyler.

"It's a day of celebration for what we do and just to help others meet their needs, either get out of pain, or get their teeth cleaned, or get that filling they've been trying to get done," Gulley says.

Dentist Lynette Ogletree says it takes an army of people doing all kinds of things to pull off the event, "Whether it's money, whether it's food, whether it's their service, their hands, you know, talking to people out there, people offer all kinds of help."

Dentists will offer free cleanings, fillings, and extractions on Saturday. Services Ogletree says people sometimes put on the back burner.

"Your blood pressure or your heart you have to go get that taken care of, your teeth, they can wait, there's no reason why you have to go."

Dentistry from the Heart is funded by donations and several sponsors. Dentists at Smith Dental Center in Tyler expect to see between 200 and 250 patients at this year's event.

"We always have someone who has tears of joy to see their front teeth restored or to get that tooth out that's been just killing them," says Gulley.

Changes in the economy could bring new faces to this year's event.

"This will be special to some people that last year may not have really thought about coming to this," Ogletree says. Just thinking about it brings tears to her eyes.

"It's just a great day for us to share our gifts with those that need them," Gulley adds.

They say seeing joy on patients' faces makes giving dentistry from their heart a no no-brainer.

Dentistry from the Heart starts at 5:30 Saturday morning at Smith Dental Center, 5400 New Copeland Road, Tyler, TX.

The event is first come first serve.

Organizers say there are restrictions on who will be served. Some of those restrictions are: you must be 18 years old, you must not have high blood pressure, you cannot be taking blood thinners, and cannot be pregnant.

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