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Dentistry with a heart Office offers day of free care for those who can't afford it
Area dentists offer a day of free dentistry for those who can't afford it.

 Fredericksburg's Lamont Barnes (left) and Barbara Angel of Chancellor wait outside for their turns to participate. Organizers say they hope to offer the service again next year.
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Date published: 2/11/2006

By KATIE TELLER

Area residents had something to smile about at the dentist's office yesterday.

Dr. Cathie Butterworth hosted the area's first Dentistry With a Heart program. It's a one-day event providing free dental care to those who can't afford it. Butterworth is a dentist with Fredericksburg Smile Center.

"We plan to make this a yearly event," said Patty Gibson, clinical supervisor at Butterworth's office. "We're giving back to the community, who has given so much to us."

Gibson said they were expecting between 75 and 100 people, and were "pleasantly surprised" at the turnout.

By 5 a.m., 30 people were already waiting, according to Mark Butterworth, Cathie Butterworth's husband and one of the volunteers.

By 7:15 a.m., 150 people had registered for services. At the end of the day, they were able to serve 112 of them.

The majority of the procedures were tooth extractions and cleanings.

Three dentists, three dental hygienists, seven clinical assistants and 12 volunteers were there yesterday, helping things run smoothly. Diana Almy and Carter Waller, who practice at other offices in Fredericksburg, also pitched in their services.

Mark Butterworth said to get the word out, they advertised in The Free Lance-Star and contacted local community service groups for referrals.

"Then the calls just started," he said.

Courtney Caldwell and her mother, Kathy, were among those who called to volunteer. Both volunteered as dental assistants yesterday.

"We pulled up and both of our jaws dropped open," Courtney Caldwell said.

The day was rewarding but busy for them.

"I feel good about it," Kathy Caldwell said. "We're doing a good thing here."

Fredericksburg resident Lamont Barnes was No. 155, and had been waiting since 6:45 a.m. Barnes was hoping to get two teeth pulled.

"I haven't been to the dentist in years," he said. "I gotta get them removed."

Travis Kemph, a 33-year-old Stafford County resident, came for a cracked tooth.

Kemph was with his stepfather, John Allen.

Like many others, Kemph had been waiting for about six hours, sine 6:30 a.m., for treatment.

Kemph suffered a brain tumor at 9, a stroke two years ago and a broken hip--and his stepfather said no insurance company would take them on.

"A program like this is wonderful for someone who doesn't have insurance," Allen said.

Patients filled out medical history forms upon arriving, and then received a number.

When patients left, they received a goody bag with a toothbrush and floss, donated by Oral B. Oral B also donated breakfast, lunch, fluoride and a staff member.

The program originated in Clearwater, Fla., with Dr. Vincent Monticciolo, and a handful of dentists around the country participate. Monticciolo is holding his fifth event this year.

Gibson said patients were grateful, despite long waits. She said she received "lots of hugs."

"The gratification is fulfillment enough," Gibson said. "That's all we need."

To reach KATIE TELLER: 540/374-5000, ext. 5558