OAKHURST – Now in its 21st year, Free Dentistry Day in Oakhurst comes along with a little help from a friend in the form of a local high school student who is assisting the dentists’ office in planning the event.
On Friday, December 5, from 8 a.m. to noon, Dr. Rodney Peter, Dr. Dennis Jones, Dr. Bob Brosi, Dr. Ryan Franklin and Dr. Anna Marie Grady plan to offer free dental treatment.
Organizationally speaking, they are being assisted this year by Yosemite High School (YHS) senior Sam Devito, who plans to be a dentist himself, one day.
The free dental treatment being offered is for adults and children who do not have dental insurance and cannot afford to see a dentist. Patients will be seen on a first come, first serve basis. Adults and children will be seen for a one-appointment procedure such as a filling, treating a toothache or doing an extraction.
Cleanings will be done only on children under age of 14. No crowns, bridges, dentures or partials will be made on this day. The lab will do minor repairs on dentures and partials.
Dr. Dennis Jones started Free Dentistry Day 21 years ago and Dr. Peter joined in this service 13 years ago.
“This year we will be able to see more patients in our office as we have more treatment rooms available and more doctors providing care,” say organizers. “All the doctors and the staff feel very fortunate to be part of the mountain community and take this opportunity to thank the community for their support.”
For the first time, a YHS student is helping with free dentistry day. Sam Devito, Class of 2015, has taken on the program as his Senior Project
“I am the dentists’ assistant, in a nut shell,” says Devito. “My senior project includes marketing the event, helping to set up the event, working the day of the event helping the patients and also following up with the patients to make sure they are doing well. The task is a lot more work than I thought however I am loving every minute of it.”
Devito says he enjoys the opportunity to complete a senior project with a specific requirement of volunteerism.
“It is an amazing experience. I am going into the community and learning so many new things and meeting many new people. I am getting a sense of what the real world is outside of high school. The fact that these projects have to be community service is very rewarding.”
In the dental office, Devito’s go-to contact is Margo, who helps him coordinate some of the activities necessary to pull free dental day together. Back at YHS, it’s Mrs. Hardison he relies on.
“My history teacher and the leader of the senior project committee, Ms. Hardison, has helped me so much. She dedicates so much time to helping her students. She spends time after school and even on the weekends helping students.”
After graduation next year, Devito wants to attend the University of Colorado-Boulder with a major Biology and then transfer to UCLA to complete his education. Some of his appreciation for good dentistry comes from personal experience.
“When I got my braces off, the feeling was amazing. I plan to become a dentist myself, so this is a great way to help out the community. To be able to help hundreds of people to achieve that same feeling would be incredible. I love the mountains and plan to never leave the Sierras.”
Anyone with questions about procedures may call (559) 683-4544. The offices are located at 49255 Golden Oak Loop in Oakhurst. Visit the Facebook page for Dr. Peter and Dr. Jones.