After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Altoona Smiles Dental Clinic has brought back its popular Smiles from the Heart program.
The one-day event, during which children and adults receive free dental care including examination, cleanings, fillings and extractions, was held Feb. 9 at the clinic, located at 2575 First Ave. South to Altoona.
Doctors and staff at Altoona Smiles began hosting the annual event in 2017 and say each year has been bigger than the last – they’ve provided more than $62,000 in free dental care.
“Being able to open our doors and welcome anyone in and say, ‘OK, if you’re in pain, if you need cleaning, if you’re someone who can’t get regular care… it’s now the opportunity for you,” said Dr. Eric Forsberg, co-owner of Altoona Smiles.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year patients had to book appointments and everyone was screened for symptoms upon arrival. There were 55 appointment slots.
Forsberg encourages anyone in need of dental care to claim one of the event’s 55 appointment slots by calling 515-200-1299. It is open to children and adults, and no personal information or medical history is required.
“We won’t just do cleanings. We’ll also do fillings, we’ll do extractions for people who are in pain, and we’ve done root canals for kids and young adults whose teeth we’re trying to save,” said Forsberg. .
Forsberg points out that all dental work done that day is free and truly open to everyone, sharing that someone from as far away as Minnesota came for the event.
“We’re going to bite the bullet for everything,” Forsberg said. “The reward is working with people and their children knowing that this is not a normal segment of our patient population. There are people out there who need help, and we want to start with that. helping those in our own backyard.”