Smiles aplenty during Free Dentistry Day

Dozens of adults and children unable to afford dental care received warm welcomes, and free work on their teeth Friday inside the offices of Oakhurst Dr. Rodney Peter.

During the 22nd annual Free Dentistry Day, a program started in 1993 by now-retired Dr. Dennis Jones, Mountain Area people expressed deep gratitude for being able to receive the free care, especially in the holiday season.

“I wouldn’t be in here if it wasn’t free,” said Aaron Pelzl, who got a root canal at last year’s event but needed to have it checked up. “I can’t afford to pay for it on myself, I mean I can pay for my son, but not for me. There’s no way I would be able to get my teeth worked on without this.”

“It’s our first time coming and it’s been really great,” added Rachel Miller, as her son Lucas, 10, prepared to get a cavity filled. “It’s incredibly difficult to pay for this kind of service sometimes and it’s really helped us out.”

Lucas said he appreciated the work too, and even delivered a joke that got laughter from his mom as well as dental hygienist Francie Russo as she cleaned his teeth.

“No,” he said, when asked if because of the free work he’d practice better dental health. “I mean yes, I’ll try. I’m just kidding, of course I’ll do it.”

Peter, along with assistance from fellow doctors Jones, Ryan Franklin, Anna Marie Grady, Adrian Buca, and their accompanying hygienists and staff, said it was the dental community’s pleasure to help those in need.

“It’s a lot of fun for us and our staff, just to be able to help people who need it,” Peter said. “We want to promote that kind of thing, better teeth, and helping the community.”

Buca, who participated for the first time, said he’d be glad to return next year.

“This is a great thing to do to help people who can’t afford otherwise,” Buca said. “I’d say it’s very valuable in helping them take care of their teeth.”

Peter’s office is located at 49255 Golden Oak Loop, adjacent to the Crab Cakes Restaurant located behind Century 21 Ditton Realty.

Details: Dr. Rodney Peter, (559) 683-4544, Dr. Adrian Buca, (559) 683-6200, Dr. Ryan Franklin, (559) 683-4700.