Free dental care on Valentine's Day

By By Lauren Manary / American Press

For many, dental insurance is a luxury

that is simply out of reach. But for one day a year, a Lake Charles

dentist makes healthier

teeth accessible for everyone.

The gift of good teeth extends beyond mere looks — it can make people feel better about their appearance and their overall

sense of self, according to Dr. Harry Castle, owner of Oak Park Dental. Every year, Castle and his team give away brighter

and healthier smiles for the good of the community.

“The amazing thing was the response. The thing I saw was the change in people,” Castle said. “They had no self-confidence,

they were down and out. Once you repair someone’s teeth, you wouldn’t believe what a difference it makes.”

Castle and his office are doing well by

any medical office standards — appointments are consistently booked

throughout the

day. Giving away care is not a clever marketing scheme drummed up

to bring in more patients, insists Castle’s employees. Castle

said that most of the patients he sees every Valentine’s Day he

only sees on Feb. 14 — the day of the giveaway.

Every year on the evening before Valentine’s Day people brave winter weather and begin lining up to be seen by Castle and

his crew. For the low, low price of free, the team of dentists and hygienists give all patients who come in that day their

choice of a cleaning, an extraction or a filling. Some 150 patients are expected to be seen by Castle’s crew that day.

“It’s not a leisurely day,” Castle said. “We probably work harder on that day than any other day of the week. But it’s just

so great to be a part of something so big.”

For the nine hours the office is open

that day, the team of five dentists and five hygienists will see

patients non-stop.

Co-workers go in shifts, giving each other a chance to run out and

grab lunch to bring back to the office. And while Castle

may be king of the office, he is not the only good Samaritan. All

five of the dentists working that day will be donating their

time.

He said the choice to give away dental work — which he has done for 12 years on Valentine’s Day — was not arbitrary. “That’s

just a day of love,” he said. “It’s just a good day to show how we care.”