Volunteers sought for free dental-care event
Dr. Brian H. Kvitko claims he's not much of a golfer, but he feels he's aces as a dentist.
So while the Clintonville practitioner enjoys sponsoring a golf tournament for a charitable cause, he was delighted when he learned at a seminar last November about a national nonprofit organization established by a colleague, Dr. Vincent Monticciolo of New Port Richey, Fla.
"He decided the best way for dentists to give back was to do dentistry," Kvitko said last week.
Kvitko became determined to give back to the community in the same way, and in a big way.
The entire staff of Dr. Kvitko, Metnes and Associates has begun planning for a daylong "Dentistry from the Heart" event on June 17 at which at least 526 people will receive free dental care.
Kvitko, nothing if not competitive, explained that the record previously for a Dentistry from the Heart day is 525. "Why not try to do the most good?" Kvitko asked.
The national nonprofit organization was registered in 2007, and last year more than 250 events were scheduled that helped an estimated 30,000 patients by offering millions of dollars in free dental care, according to the website of the program. Six years earlier, Monticciolo got the ball rolling by offered a full day of free dental care at his Florida practice.
June 17 might seem like a long way off, but Kvitko said that he and those on his staff have a lot of work ahead of them in order to pull off the kind of major Dentistry from the Heart event he envisions.
Volunteers galore will be needed, the dentist said, including other dentists, dental assistants and hygienists, at least one oral surgeon and people who can handle such duties as checking patients in and transporting instruments.
Kvitko, who has been practicing in Clintonville for 29 years, has been a member of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry faculty for the past two decades.
That has enabled him to arrange for the OSU mobile dentistry clinic to be part of the June 17 events. The customized motor coach has four dental chairs for treating children, making this the first Dentistry from the Heart where those under the age of 18 can be treated, according to Kvitko.
Other possibilities on the dentist's horizon for that day include the American Red Cross Bloodmobile, a Franklin County Children Services van where people can sign up for various programs, possibly a "bounce house" for children, a sound stage with various kinds of entertainment and, of course, some portable toilets.
"We almost want to make it a community health event," Kvitko said.
With no questions asked, people showing up that day for dental care can receive an extraction, a filling or a cleaning. A fourth group may not know what kind of procedure they need. Kvitko plans to have four chairs set aside for hygienists and eight for dentists inside his offices, in addition to the four in the OSU mobile clinic.
"We're not going to look at their bank account," Kvitko said. "We're not going to ask them to prove that they're poor or prove they don't have insurance."
Those who have a tooth removed will need to have a prescription filled, so the dental practice staff members are hoping to line up an on-site pharmacy to operate that day.
So while Kvitko is pumped about all the good that could be done on June 17, he knows it's still something of a drop in the bucket, or in the spit sink.
"Dentists couldn't do enough free dental care to make up for the difference between the haves and have-nots," Kvitko said.
Those interested in volunteering to help out on Friday, June 17 should call the office at (614) 262-9588.