Dental patients line up for free care - FOX 13 News

Dental patients line up for free care

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

One by one, volunteer dentists went to work Friday, restoring lost smiles like Farah Eugene's.

"I can't eat. I have to eat liquid stuff," she said.

Dr. Vincent Monticciloo removed a fractured tooth from the young woman's mouth. Dr. Monticciloo started Dentistry from the Heart as a way to give back to the community.

During the events, those in need can have their teeth cleaned, cavities filled or teeth pulled -- all for free.

Monticciloo started the non-profit group 13 years ago.

"It is so gratifying, all the hugs and tears we get in return, thank you's, are just tremendous," he said.

To date, 80,000 people have been treated worldwide by a network of volunteers.

"Breath in and breath out. Picture all the good stuff you will be out doing because you won't have any more tooth discomfort," said Dr.Frank Pettinato.

Katie Mclaurine is a cavity-pained college student. Without the free treatment, her mouth would go un-fixed.

"There is a lot of people unfortunately like me, because I don't have health insurance, so when I heard about it, it was a great opportunity for me to come take care of it," she said.

Each visit only takes minutes. Mclaurine hopes to one day pay it forward. She is going to college to be a dental assistant.

"If I couldn't come get it fixed, I'd actually be here volunteering," she said.

A line formed Thursday evening before the free event at Monticciolo Family & Sedation Dentistry on West Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa.

"A lot of the patients will come up and give you a hug and say thank you so much," Pettinato said.

As much as the patients appreciate the care, the dentists are happy to help.

"You get to make a difference in someone's day really quickly," said Dr. Chelsea Fenton.

They say a smile is worth all the thanks in the world.

More than 300 people were treated Friday.

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