BILLINGS — For 15 years, Brewer Dental Center has been making a difference one smile at a time by hosting "Dentistry From The Heart."
"This is our favorite thing," said Dr. Wade Wilde, Brewer Dental Center dentist. "No matter how much it is snowing outside, this is our favorite thing to do during the winter."
Over the years, "Dentistry From The Heart" has been responsible for $1.5 million worth of free dental services.
"It was meant to help those who couldn't afford dentistry that really need dentistry," said Dr. Ben Holloway, a dentist at Brewer Dental Center.
Brewer provides dental services free of charge throughout the day including cleanings, simple extractions or fillings.
"Every year we think maybe there will be less people because we've treated a lot of these people," Holloway said. "But a lot of these people have multiple issues with their teeth so we see a lot of return patients coming back."
Brewer estimates that it will provide services to more than 400 patients throughout the day.
"In 2006 we would have people lined out, laying out on the side walk all over for hours and hours, some overnight stay because this is their best chance to get some care," Wilde said.
"My tooth was really, really bothering me," said Toni Wheeler, a patient on Saturday. "And I waited until this specific day so that I knew they would take care of me."
"I don't have any medical insurance," said Brittney Griffith. "So the prices for going to the dentist are really high, and insane so I'm really thankful for being able to get this done so quickly and everybody being so nice as well."
"As long as we continue to see people that want, that need, that have that desire to be coming out, we're going to make sure we provide that," said Wilde.
"Doctors warned me about some future stuff that I should worry about," Griffith said.
"This part of the tube is connected to everything else in the body," Wilde said. "And we get to see the signs, symptoms the problems that show up in people's bodies, sometimes the first sign or symptom is in the mouth or around that area and so it's exciting to be helping the overall health of a person even though our part is very small."
Doctors, clinicians, and other staff all volunteer their time. There were around 85 volunteers present.
It's awesome, this is one of the best feelings that we can have
"Every year, every year the patients are emotional," Wilde said. "And we're emotional, we start off the day with anticipation and excitement. We know what to expect and we're still overwhelmed with how we feel at the end of the day."
Dr. Vincent Monticciolo started "Dentistry from the Heart" in Florida in 2001.