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Free, healthy smiles from High Peaks Dental

PLATTSBURGH Dentistry work can be expensive for many people, but on Aug. 2, High Peaks Dental was able to help in that department. Dentistry from the Heart New York is a registered non-profit organization which provides free dental work to adults in need. It was founded by Doctors Michael T. OConnor, DMD, William P. Caldon, DSS and Donnon DJ ONeill, DSS, in 2007. All three doctors are owners of High Peaks Dental. At the time we had been looking for a charity that in the local community is something we kind of wanted to support, explained Office Manager Madeline Morrissey. We wanted one that we could focus on and make sure that one day a year we really did something special for it. Morrissey explained the three dentists went to a conference and came across Dentistry from the Heart. It was originally founded in 2001 by Dr. Vincent Monticciolo in Port Richey, Fla. The organization has now spread nationwide helping more than 5,000 people with over a million dollars worth of dentistry work. Last year, as the first annual event at High Peaks Dental, Morrissey said 87 people came for their free services, providing more than $19,000 worth of work. We contact dental supply companies and ask them for supplies, said Morrissy, who added the money spent on dentistry work does not include supplies. This year the office helped 102 people with $23,000 worth of work. Three dentists, three dental hygienists and 25 volunteers were on hand to help the day run smoothly. Dr. DJ ONeill said As we were in the community we talked to a lot of folks [who were] saying ...wed love to see you, but we cant afford it. Thats when ONeill and the other doctors realized they needed to do something to give back to the community. So we contacted Dentistry from the Heart [in Florida] and kind of asked for a gameplan, ONeill explained. Its really cool. It makes you feel good, he added. One patient seen last Saturday was Mardi Gordon of Plattsburgh who had a toothache. My dentist couldnt make me an appointment till October. So when I saw the paper I was all excited, said Gordon who ended up having to get the tooth extracted. I was trying to be the first one ... I got here around 5 a.m. Another couple, Ken and Kaping Castine of Champlain, had been waiting at the office since 8:30 a.m. to get their teeth cleaned. They had yet to be seen by 1 p.m. but Ken Castine said They did a very good job last year. Dentistry from the Heart will be held annual on the first Saturday of August, so mark your calendars now. We dont ask you to provide insurance. We dont ask you to prove your income, explained Morrissey. Its just any adult. When asked why children are not a part of the program, Morrissey explained, Number one, you dont want them to have to be waiting around outside. Its just not fair to them. Theres also more programs out there for children to receive free services than there are out there for adults. For more information on Dentistry for the Heart contact High Peaks Dental at 563-8622 or visit www.DentistryFromTheHeartNY.com.

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