In the Community

Dentistry From The Heart

VALDOSTA — Newbern Family Dental Practice hosted Dentistry From The Heart Nov. 8. They provided a day of free dentistry to Valdosta and surrounding area folks. Dentistry From The Heart is a national non-profit organization that works with hosting dental practices, like Newbern Family Dental Practice, to provide dental services to people who otherwise would be unable to take care of their dental needs. More than 170 area residents received an excess of $60,000 worth of free dentistry.

Event host Dr. Jeff Newbern said, “I was amazed at the generosity of our dental professional community. This event happened because so many doctors, businesses and other professionals donated their talents and resources. Dr. Jeanne Newbern and Laura Newbern were grateful to local dentists Dr. Bo Broadfoot, Dr. Brad Bynum, Dr. Lisa Chatman, Dr. Brent Depta, Dr. Kit Robinson, Dr. Scott Summers and Dr. Sam Worthington for their participation. Dr. Tamilade Kadree traveled from Atlanta to help. This event would have been physically impossible without the volunteer doctors and hygienists. Newbern Dentistry also wants to commend and thank my staff for all their hard work preparing and making it run so smoothly.  Event Co-coordinators Andi Durrence and Katie Rockenbach did a fantastic job on our first annual Dentistry From The Heart event!” 

People started waiting the afternoon and night before the event.  A walled tent, a couple of heaters, and chairs provided some relief from the cold for those that waited thru the night.  People really appreciated fresh cups of coffee and a hot breakfast that morning, as well as hot lunches, drinks and snacks later in the day that were provided by our event donors.

Registered nurse Nancy Rockenbach did blood pressure and health screenings for people having fillings and extractions done that day.  Nancy not only did the screenings for that day’s work, she gave many of the attendees counseling about their medical conditions and where they could obtain assistance with their medical and prescription needs.  AmeriMed Pharmacy donated pre-medications for patients that required it.

Katie Rockenbach, one of Newbern Family Dental Practice’s pediatric hygienists and event co-coordinator, said, “Co-coordinator Andi Durrence (Dr. Jeanne Newbern’s dental assistant) and I envisioned this day as a celebration.  We wanted to give back to our community, but we wanted them to have a good time too!  It was really rewarding to see so many people smiling.”

Tiffany Michelle Johnson wrote on Facebook, “My experience yesterday was awesome.  I was so scared, but the people there made me feel so comfortable!!  You guys are great!!!”  Dr. Sam Worthington’s office also posted on Face Book, “…You did a great job and it was a blessing for the community.  Dr. Worthington enjoyed being able to participate in the event.” 

The Valdosta Daily Times and Dee Rivers Radio helped get word out about the event.  Food and drinks for the attendees, volunteers and staff was donated by McDonalds, Smok’N Pig, Pizza Hut, Chick-Fil-A, Pepsi, Blue Summit Waters, Food Bank of Valdosta, Sam’s Club, Winn Dixie and Publix.   Benco dental rep Joe Ed Jackson manned the lunch grill.  Robert Shaughnessy, representing Sam’s Club, was a workhorse that day from pre-dawn to sunset.  Kyle Keller’s band provided a mid-day music break for people waiting their turn in the dental office.  Outhouse Port-A-Potties’ donation was a necessity.

National dental suppliers Benco, Dentsply, Patterson Dental, and Reliance Orthodontic Products donated dental materials for the event.  Local financial institutions Citizens Community Bank, First Federal Savings & Loan, Farmers & Merchants Bank, and First State Bank gave monetary donations to help cover the costs of items needed, but not donated.  Wiregrass Technical College loaned additional dental instruments for the multiple doctors and hygienists working the event.

Wiregrass Technical College hygiene and dental assistant students and staff, and VSU Pre-Dental Club students really contributed to the day’s success.  All staff, hygienists and doctors donated their time and services to make this day possible. Dental assistant Grady King drove from the Augusta area.  There were about 100 Newbern Dental staff, family and volunteers that manned the Dentistry From The Heart event and assisted the dental professionals.  Arrow Screen Printing’s tee shirts for staff and volunteers said it perfectly. “SMILE…..IT’S FREE.”

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