Dr. Christopher Phelps and four other dentists will provide free dental care for adults July 23 at Carolinas Dental Center in Matthews.
The dentists and hygienists will perform cleanings and extractions. Registration will start at 7:30 a.m. and the first 150 patients in line are guaranteed to be seen, said Ashley Ziemke, treatment plan and marketing coordinator for Carolinas Dental Center.
The event is part of Dentistry From The Heart, a Florida-based nonprofit that provides free dental care to low income or uninsured people.
The dentists used to fill cavities, but that slowed the process, Ziemke said. By focusing on cleanings and extractions, they are able to treat more people.
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Phelps said he decided to host his own events after he heard the Dentistry From The Heart founder, Dr. Vincent Monticciolo, speak in 2011.
“(Monticciolo) saw a need and wanted to put on the events to help people in the community,” Phelps said. “It was a huge success.”
On Dec. 1, 2012, Phelps held his first Dentistry From The Heart event at both of his Carolinas Dental Center offices — in Waxhaw and Matthews. Ziemke said the event lasted 14 hours.
In 2013, the event was Nov. 16 at the Matthews location, and in 2014, Nov. 15 at the Waxhaw office. The Waxhaw office has since been sold, so this year’s event will take place in Matthews.
Phelps said people usually arrive around 5 p.m. the night before to secure a place in line. That’s why this year’s event was moved to the summer. November and December were too cold, Ziemke said.
Phelps said he was amazed by the number of people who came, but at the same time, was saddened by how many people were in need of dental care.
He said he plans to host a Dentistry From The Heart event each year and has encouraged his colleagues to do the same.
“If we all did this every year in our practices, there would be no access-to-care issue,” Phelps said.
In total, Ziemke said Carolinas Dental Center has served about 557 people and has donated about $300,000 in dental treatment.
Jane Little: 704-358-5336; @janelittle26
Want to go?
Registration for Dentistry From The Heart begins at 7:30 a.m. July 23 at Carolinas Dental Center, 428 N. Trade St., Suite 101, Matthews. Patients are encouraged to arrive early and bring chairs, water and snacks because they will be outside while waiting to be seen.