The line in front of Coarsegold Dental was long at 8 a.m. last Saturday and the waiting room did not empty till 5 p.m., as Doctors Travis Kendall, Jacob Geyer and Eric Francom and their staff worked all day providing free dental services to close to 100 patients valued at $30,000.
"It was wonderful to be able to help so many people in need of dental care," said Kendall. "There were a lot of hugs and smiles shared today and for us, that is what this day was all about."
"If they keep this up, Coarsegold will have the best smiles in the county," said Coarsegold resident Mike Knecht. Knecht, 36, is a truck driver currently unemployed with no dental insurance, was thankful for the free services that were being provided.
"I had to have a wisdom tooth pulled and a cavity filled," Knecht said. "That would have cost me about $400," said the father of three children. "That would have been hard for me to pay for. This was awesome for the dentists to do this today."
His wife Natalie also had some dental work done Saturday.
Services performed during the day included through check-ups, X-rays, cleanings, filings and extractions.
Staff members from Camarena Health provided pulse, blood pressure and blood sugar checks at no charge.
Coarsegold Dental teamed with Dentistry From The Heart, an 11-year-old national non-profit organization that dedicated to providing free dental care to those who need it. Every year, individual dentists and practices across the country donate their time and resources to host their own Dentistry From The Heart events.
Since it's inception in 2001, more than 300 dental offices across the country have donated $9 million in free dental work to more than 60,000 adults and children, helping address the growing number of people without dental insurance.
Kristen Gordineer, her husband Scott and their two children, Tyler, 9, and Makenzie, 6, are regular patients at Oakhurst Dental, but were happy to take advantage of the free dental day. Tyler had a tooth extracted and Makenzie was treated to a teeth cleaning from volunteer Stephanie Romans, a recent graduate of the dental program at Fresno City College.
Romans said volunteering for the day was a great experience and she enjoyed meeting all the patients.
"I'm so appreciative of what the dentists are doing today," said Kristen. "This would have been expensive and all they are doing today for the community is tremendous. Dr. Kendall is awesome and great with the kids."
Coarsegold Dental is almost five years old and offers a wide range of dental procedures including orthodontics for children and adults.
Dr. Kendall graduated Cum Laude from the University of Utah with a degree in medical biology and received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Ohio State University, graduating at the top of his class. He spent two years in Honduras as a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His is married to Jennifer and the couple have five children.
Dr. Geyer attended Utah State University, where he competed in track and cross country on a full ride scholarship. He earned his DDS degree from Ohio State University, graduating at the top of his class.
Like Kendall, his dental school classmate, Geyer served a two year religious mission for the LDS church in the Dominican Republic. He is married and the couple have three children.
Dr. Francom graduated from Midwestern University college of Dental Medicine in Glendale, Ariz. and has been practicing dentistry for three years. He and his wife Shannon were married in October.
"We are so grateful to be a part of this great community and this was just an incredible experience for us and our staff to be able to give back and show our appreciation," Geyer said.
The doctors and staff of five dental assistants and five front office employees said they are already looking forward to holding the free dental day next year.