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Smiles all around

Valencia dental practice provides free services for those who can't afford it

Posted: January 24, 2014 5:32 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2014 5:32 p.m.

Dr. Kelly Smudde, right, is assited by dental assistant Noel Baldridge as they give a free filling to patient Sarah Lauterbach during the "Dentistry from the Heart" event in Valencia Friday. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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It was all smiles Friday for the dozens who turned out at a Valencia practice to receive free dental services ranging from fillings to extractions.

The event, held at the Valencia dental practice of Drs. Allen and Kelly Smudde, was a coordinated effort with Dentistry from the Heart, a nonprofit organization that provides no-cost dental work to adults in need.

“We’ve been doing dentistry in Santa Clarita for years now and we just feel grateful to the community and just want to say, ‘Thank you,’” said Kelly Smudde.

The employees at the practice were out in full force to provide dental work while other volunteers turned out to help staff the event, and a collection of companies donated food and supplies.

“When we said we were doing this, opening the office for free dentistry, everybody said, ‘What can we do to help?’” Smudde said.

By the end of the day, 65 people had turned out to take part in the event, and the amount of free dental work provided totaled an estimated $16,000.

“We’ve had a steady flow of people coming in,” Smudde said. “There have hardly been any gaps.”

Many who turned out Friday underwent procedures such as fillings or cleanings. But a team of oral surgeons — including Drs. R. Dean Lang, Payam Samouhi and Don Kim from the nearby Heritage Oral Surgery & Implant Centers — also volunteered their time to help with more involved procedures, such as extractions.

Some, like Palmdale resident Esmeralda Camacho, received multiple procedures throughout the course of the day.
Camacho, who works in Castaic, said she heard about the event at her job.

“I think this is just awesome,” she said as she sat in her chair awaiting an extraction. “Especially for those that can’t afford it.”

Camacho, who also had her teeth cleaned at Friday’s event, said she would not have been able to afford the dental work she needed if not for the Smuddes.

“This is really helpful,” she said as she settled in the dentist’s chair.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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