NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — The 18th annual Dentistry from the Heart event is taking place Friday in New Port Richey.
- Dozens lined up for annual Dentistry from the Heart event
- Monticciolo Family and Sedation Dentistry offering free services
- Open to first 400 people
The first 400 people who show up will get free dental work from Monticciolo Family and Sedation Dentistry.
Every year, it's always the same story — dental work is just too expensive.
Now, the state of Florida is trying to make doing business cheaper for dentists that help the underserved.
A new Senate bill is proposing a dental student loan program. It would provide up to $250,000 over five years for dentists in areas that are medically underserved.
"I think it's a great start. Any grants or money that can go to, especially some of the younger dentists that are burdened by their student loans, to help them do some of the charity care would be great," Dr. Vincent Monticciolo said.
The program would cover the cost of books, dental equipment and supplies, uniforms, and even living expenses.
"Cleaning alone is over $100. You got all the fillings and x-rays on top of that," said Kevin Tunon, who was waiting for dental work at the annual event.
The state would approve 10 dentists a year for the program, allowing them to reach thousands every year that can't afford dental work.
The event located at 5139 Little Road in New Port Richey started at 7 a.m. and is open to the first 400 people. Patients can choose from a cleaning, one filling, or one extraction.
Dozens lined up for the annual Dentistry from the Heart event in New Port Richey. (Jason Lanning/Spectrum Bay News 9)
A similar event is taking place today in Brooksville. Anyone under the age of 18 can get a free dental exam.
It's the 4th annual Children's Dental Day at Brooksville Family Health Center.
A parent or guardian does need to be present.
Free services are available between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.