Dental professionals provide free services in the Bay area - WFLA News Channel 8

Dental professionals provide free services in the Bay area

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Plenty of people had the chance to get some free dental work Friday, and another opportunity is on the way later this month.

Each February, thousands of the nation's dentists and their dental team members provide free oral health care treatment to children from low-income families.

In Tampa Friday, Dr. Vincent Monticiollo offered hundreds of free dental services at his Tampa dentistry office as part of the 12th annual Dentistry From The Heart event.

"We provided free extractions, fillings and cleanings," Dr. Monticiollo said.

Dr. Monticiollo founded the charitable event back in 2001, and since then it's grown to 49 states and 3 countries, but he can't do it alone. For the Tampa event he had plenty of back-up.

"Over 100 volunteers, a dozen dentists, about eight hygienists, so we were able to service from three to five hundred people," he said.

Last year Dr. Monticiollo says he and volunteer dentists provided services for 526 people at his New Port Richey office.

"We get a lot of hugs. We get a lot of tears you know, and it can really change a person's life," Dr. Monticiollo explained. "A lot of people have been hurting for a long time just waiting for this event, and they're real thankful, and it's real gratifying."

On the other side of the bridge, the Pinellas County Health Department's dental staff is participating once again in the "Give Kids a Smile" program by providing dental services at no charge on Friday, February 22.

Here's how it works. Children who receive free or reduced lunch in school or who have no dental insurance are eligible. The child must be between the ages of 4 and 14 and the parents or guardians should be committed to helping the child practice good oral health.

Pinellas County Health Department centers in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo and Pinellas Park are four of the eight community dental locations participating. For additional information and locations of all Give Kids a Smile clinics on Feb. 22 Click Here

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