Free Smiles Come to San Marcos

A San Marcos man waited 10 hours overnight Thursday to receive free dental work.

Retired veteran Michael Rice was the first person in line at San Marcos Gentle Dental at 9 p.m. Thursday to ensure the dentist would see him.

San Marcos Gentle Dental hosted their second annual ‘Dentistry From The Heart’ event on Friday Feb. 6., where they provided adults with free dental care that included free fillings, extractions and cleanings.

Rice said he needed a tooth removed because it had been causing him problems for many years and was unable to get work done because he did not have dental insurance.

“I was going to just pull it out with pliers myself,” said Rice.

Dentistry From The Heart began in 2001 with Dr. Vincent Monticciolo of Tampa, Florida as a way to give back to his community and provide assistance to the growing number of Americans without dental insurance.

Dr. J. Robert Donnelly of San Marcos Gentle Dental said he decided to participate in this national wide event to say “thank you” to the San Marcos community.

“We wanted to do something for the community and give back because we’ve been practicing here for a long time and we really like San Marcos because we’ve had a great opportunity here,” said Donnelly.

Dr. Gregory Wang (left), Dr. Robert Donnelly (center) Dr. Charles Reevees helped throughout the day at the event.

Dr. Gregory Wang (left), Dr. Robert Donnelly (center) Dr. Charles Reevees helped throughout the day at the event.

Donnelly also said this is a way to remember his son Chance, who died in December 2010.

Last year Gentle Dental did dental work for about 90 people at their event and the work totaled to around $26,000.

This year Gentle Dental saw around 85 people and did dental work that totaled to around $30,000.

Margaret Benner of San Marcos Dental said they did not turn anyone away from the event and that it was an overall success and that they plan on hosting the event again next year.

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