January 24, 2014

Delightful dental deal

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star


Next Friday will be the first time some residents of Grady County will be able to smile with confidence. 

After a long wait outside 29th Street Dental Care, patients will be greeted by the dental staff wearing shirts that say "Smile. It's free" under a heart-eyed smiley face. 

For the seventh year in a row, 29th Street Dental Care will be providing free dentistry to the Grady County community on Jan. 31. 

The full day of free dental care starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. 

No appointments. Care is provided on a first come, first serve basis. The dental office will offer free cleanings, x-rays, fillings and extractions. Patients must be at least 18 years of age and not pregnant. 

Hundreds of patients have waited–some as early as the day before–outside the dentist office to ensure their place in the dental chair. 

On the day of the free clinic, the dental office is bustling with activity. Two oral surgeons, 10 doctors and 30 to 40 Platt College dental students will be assisting. 

Over the last six years, the free clinic has seen over 15,000 patients, received over one millions dollars in free care and had about 100 volunteers every year. 

The free dental care is provided with no questions asked. Patients will not be asked whether or not they have insurance. The patient's economic situation, Phillips said, is none of his business. 

"We know there are needy people in Grady County, and we know we're supposed to help them," Phillips said. 

Local businesses and churches, have made Dentistry from the Heart possible every year. 

"We couldn't do it without them," Phillips said. 

Billboards have been hung throughout Grady County, including Chickasha and Tuttle. Radio stations have also broadcasted the event. 

Because of all this, word has spread.

In previous years, the dental office has seen patients from all over Oklahoma and even a few from Arkansas and Texas, Phillips said. 

The procedures can be life-changing. Some patients come in wanting to get their smile fixed for their wedding or for a job interview. 

There are patients who have started crying when they look in the mirror at the end of the procedure and see the results, Phillips said. Some were concerned about going to job interviews and not getting the job because of the condition of their teeth. 

"It's the hardest day of the year, but also the most rewarding," Phillips said. 

Philips said he and his staff look forward to the annual event. 

"We're all so blessed," he said. "It's the least we can do. 

The 29th Street Dental Care office is on 2900 W. Grand Ave. in Chickasha. No appointments are necessary, but questions can be directed to 405.222.2229.