Southland Smiles, Dentistry from the Heart offer free dental service on Saturday

On Saturday, March 17, a visit to the dentist will be available to those who usually are unable to afford it.

Dr. Richard Mantoan of Southland Smiles, 19815 Governors Highway in Flossmoor, in conjunction with the non-profit organization Dentistry from the Heart, is offering his services for free.

This will be the sixth time Mantoan and his staff have offered the Dentistry from the Heart, but the office's history of helping began before its partnership with the program.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and Mantoan and his volunteers will see patients from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Care will be given on a first-come first-served basis, but the first 50 patients are guaranteed to be served.

Over the years, Southland Smiles has helped hundreds of people who need dental work, including fillings, extractions and cleanings.

No proof of need is required, but the program is intended primarily to help the homeless, the unemployed, the working poor or anyone who is unable to pay for dental care.

In a video from the 2015 event, Mantoan said, "Dentistry from the Heart gives us an opportunity to really fulfill our purpose, which is service for the community. This community has provided so much to us over the years."

Depending on the turnout, patients might have to wait outside before being seen. Patients are encouraged to arrive early, dress appropriately for the weather and bring chairs, blankets, water and snacks.

Dentistry From The Heart is a national non-profit organization with a mission of making people smile. It was founded by a dentist in Florida in 2001 and seeks to help the growing number of under-insured Americans. Millions of Americans lack dental insurance, and findings show more than 29 percent of adults have untreated cavities.

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