Free dental work available on Saturday


Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 5:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 5:34 p.m.

On a first-come, first-served basis, Gainesville residents can get a free day of dental care from Millhopper Family Dentistry.

Facts

Free dental work

What: A day of free dental work -- fillings, extractions and cleanings -- for the first 100 people in line.
When: Saturday, starting at 8 a.m.
Where: Millhopper Family Dentistry, 3510 NW 43rd St., Gainesville
Contact: 377-1705

Starting Saturday at 8 a.m., the dental office will perform fillings, extractions and cleanings for the first 100 people in line, said Dr. Alecia McDonald, a co-owner of the practice.

"This is our way of giving back to the community," she said. "We're glad it's picking up steam."

The day of service, four years running after Saturday, isn't limited to just regular patients -- it's for everyone in the community.

"For some people, this is a yearly checkup," McDonald said. "We get some people who arrive really early for it."

In past years, the prospect of free dental care has drawn people to the clinic the day before.

Last year, the first person showed up around 3 p.m. before McDonald had even closed up for the day.

And usually, the first five people in line are the first five every year, she said.

"It's people who could really use the work and don't have the money," she said.

McDonald said everyone at the Millhopper clinic recognizes how tough economic times can be; that's why they want to help.

The full day of cleaning tends to be tough and laborious, but with help from local practitioners, like Dr. Gary Altschuler, Endodontic Associates and this year a group of University of Florida dental students, the constant scrambling is manageable, she said.

"We work hard together, everybody takes a leadership role. And it's a good way to get some camaraderie among the dental community," McDonald said.

"When we're done, we leave the office and say, 'Phew, glad that's over.' But the next day, it's always the same: We talk about how that day was so much fun and that we can't wait to do it again," she said.

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