Health insurance is still a luxury for many.
So Friday is your chance to get free procedures from a local doctor.
Dr. Vincent Monticciolo, a New Port Richey dentist, is giving back to the community Friday, February 5th by offering free dental services to those in need.
For the past 15 years, Dr. Monticciolo and his team of dentists have helped hundreds of people needing filling, extraction and cleanings.
Dr. Monticciolo founded Dentistry From The Heart, a national non-profit organization that has one simple mission: making people smile. He believes dental care simply isn't an option for many who lack dental insurance.
"Now more than ever, I know there's people out there that need my services, but have no means to afford them whether they're out of a job, or just don't have dental insurance," said Dr. Monticciolo. "This Dentistry From The Heart event is my way of giving back to the community, and being there for the people who are in need of dental work."
It’s an event that has people coming back year after year.
Every year Judy Berens plans for this moment rain or shine.
“Just sitting here, trying to stay dry,” she said. “I have a hooded jacket, gloves, if it rains, I have my rain suit.”
For 14 years she’s camped out in an empty lot in New Port Richey.
“Last year the line went back all the way around,” Berens said.
At 64-years-old and on a fixed income, dental insurance has never been a priority.
“I live on less than $800 a month,” Berens said ,”it's hard to find insurance, it's hard to get groceries and still pay your half of your home.”
During this year’s Dentistry from the Heart event she’s getting a cracked tooth fixed for free. It would normally cost about $1,000.
“I'm hoping he can save it, if not it will be pulled out,” said Berens.
Her story is not unique, more than 500 people are expected to show up. They are planning to do 600 extractions, 100 fillings and a couple hundred cleanings.
“There are quite a few procedures, a lot of people who are less fortunate, homeless, or unemployed who have been in pain for a long time. We are here to help,” said Dr. Vincent Monticciolo.
Dr. Monticciolo started the charity and it has spread all over the world.
He and a team of dentists in one day are expected to do $100,000 in free dental work.
So follow Berens lead, just show up and she says you will leave smiling.
“Totally. I don't have a whole lot of them left, but I’m trying to keep what I got,” she said.
The event starts at 7 a.m. Friday. No paperwork is necessary. If you need an extraction, filling or cleaning just go to 5139 Little Road New Port Richey, Florida 34655.
For more information go to www.dentistryfromtheheart.org.