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Oak Park Dental and Dr. Harry Castle offered free dental work to local residents on Thursday during his annual event. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Oak Park Dental and Dr. Harry Castle offered free dental work to local residents on Thursday during his annual event. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

(Rick Hickman / American Press)

(Rick Hickman / American Press)

Residents take advantage of Oak Park Dental's free dental care day

Last Modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 9:27 AM

By John Guidroz / American Press

Stefanie Schley said she arrived at Oak Park Dental at 4 a.m. Thursday to get a filling done free of charge, a service the office has provided for more than a decade.

“I think it’s a really good thing that they’re doing,” said Schley, 37. “It’s also very generous. It’s not something you see or hear about a lot.”

This was the office’s 12th annual Free Valentine’s Day Clinic. Up to 150 people could get their teeth cleaned, a filling or get a tooth pulled, all free of charge.

Brice Patterson, 23, said he was getting a tooth pulled. The Lake Charles native now lives in Chicago, but was visiting relatives when he heard about the free dental care. Patterson said he appreciated the office providing the service for those who may not be able to afford it.

“They are very caring of other people who need stuff like that,” he said.

Paul Johnson, 23, said he also wanted to get some teeth pulled.

“Anything that is free, you’re going to hear about it,” Johnson joked.

Johnson said the service “is a good thing for the community.”

“I think more dentist offices should participate in this kind of activity to help people out that don’t have insurance or can’t afford it,” he said. “If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know what I’m talking about.”

Molly Stevenson said this was her second time visiting Oak Park Dental on Valentine’s Day. She said the process has become more organized since her first visit about five years ago.

“When they first did it, it was a little bit more rowdy,” Stevenson said. “Now, it’s a little bit more peaceful. Whatever they can do for me, I’ll gladly accept.”

Jeffery Potts, 56, of Sulphur, said he went to get some of his teeth pulled. He said he heard about the free dental care last year but forgot the date.

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