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More than 100 receive free dental care during Dentistry From the Heart event

June 08, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Dr. Bruce Burley, center, works with Dr. Richard Kramer, left, and his wife Dr, Lauren Kramer along with their two daughters Elizabeth, far left, and Gillian, far right, who are volunteering at the Dentistry From the Heart free dental care event at Hagerstown Smiles Saturday.
By Colleen McGrath / Staff Photographer

Dental professionals and other volunteers helped put smiles on people’s faces Saturday at Dentistry From the Heart, performing dental procedures for free for more than 100 people.

“I got absolutely exceptional service,” said a beaming Karen Young of Shepherdstown, W.Va. “Everyone was cordial and very professional and polite.”

“Dr. (Ray) Becker was amazing,” said Young, who received her free dental care at Hagerstown Smiles Dental Care on Mount Aetna Road.

“We’re right around 110 patients today, so it’s been a good day,” said Dr. Bruce Burley, one of eight dentists who offered their services.

The list of more than 70 volunteers also included hygienists, dental assistants, other patients and people he knows from church, Burley said.

Dentistry From the Heart was started by Dr. Vincent Monticciolo, a Florida dentist, in 2001, Burley said.

“It’s actually worldwide now,” with hundreds of events a year, he said.

Dentistry From the Heart’s website states more than 80,000 people have received dental care over the 12 years of the program in the United States, Canada and other countries.

“It’s a movement at this point,” Burley said.

Within a matter of hours, the team of volunteers had performed cleanings, filled cavities and extracted teeth for the patients, many of whom had been putting off dental work because they did not have the money.

“We see a lot of patients come in who are walking around with infections in their teeth,” Burley said. He knows they are experiencing pain, but are unable to pay.

“It’s a good way to give back to the community. Hopefully, to pay it forward,” Burley said.

“I had a filling put in,” said Bill Rippond of Hagerstown, who came to the event with his girlfriend, Georgette Armstrong. “The doctor was real friendly, the staff was excellent. I’d recommend it to anyone.”

Becker, Burley and his son, Dr. Brandon Burley, were joined by fellow dentists Richard and Lauren Kramer, Fred Bye, Hillary Wade and Jay Blickenstaff at Saturday’s clinic. Bruce Burley said this was the third in about a year and a half.

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