Dentists offer free smiles
Okotoks: Annual event provides free treatment
By: Roxanne Blackwell
| Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 02:18 pm
Okotoks residents will have a reason to smile on Friday, May 30 when three dental offices will team up to offer free dental work on a first come first serve basis for the Dentistry for the Heart event.
Orthodontist Darin J. Ward had participated in the worldwide event when he worked in the United States, and brought the event to Okotoks last year.
“I just thought I’d like to do this and give back. It would be a good way to get the offices together and have interaction with the offices who refer me patients, and it was really awesome,” he said.
Five clinics participated last year and completed $28,635.75 worth of fillings, extractions and cleanings on a total of 127 patients.
Since Dr. Ward’s office Okotoks Orthodontics is not fitted to do extractions or fillings, he will be exclusively offering cleanings.
“We did the event last year and one of the overwhelming things that people said was I wish there were more sports for cleanings, so I thought we could do that here,” he said. “Our goal is to see 65 patients. I’ve never done 65 cleanings in a day so it will be insane, but it will be fun.”
My Family Dental and iDental will also be participating in the event and will be doing other dental work in addition to cleanings. Dr Carla Cordick from iDental said she was eager to participate again this year.
“I thought it was a great idea, great that (Dr. Ward) took the initiative to get everyone going, sometimes that’s just what you need. We were on board right away,” she said.
Dr. Cordick said it provides the offices with a great opportunity to give back to the community that supports them.
“Everyone should have access to care, and no one should be in pain or discomfort,” she said. “It’s important to help our own. It’s great to go on a mission to other countries, but there are people in our own back yard who can’t afford things.”
Dr. Ward said anyone can find themselves in a financial situation where teeth are no longer a priority.
“People find themselves in situations from decisions they’ve made, things that have happened to them where teeth end up on the backburner. And when teeth are on the backburner for a month or so it’s not so bad, but when they’re on the backburner for years it becomes a problem,” he said “This is a way to get them caught back up.”
Patients will be treated at all three clinics starting at 8 a.m. on May 30 on a first come first serve basis until 3-3:30 p.m. Dr. Ward said that they’re operating on the honour system, and hope that people who can afford dental care will leave the spaces open for those who don’t have insurance. Patients will receive one service each.
“Teeth are a choice, so it’s one of those things where what do you want? Most people want a nice smile, but at the very least they want to be out of pain,” Dr. Ward said.
And Dr. Ward intends to continue and grow the event in Okotoks each year.
“Hopefully the ripple effect will be more offices do it and soon the whole town is giving away free dentistry for a day, that’s my goal.”