— By BRIAN SMITH
For the third straight year, Dr. Thomas Novak and his staff will be offering free dental work to anyone 18 years and older who needs it, no strings attached, through the Dentistry with a Heart program Friday, April 12, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Novak said the program was started by an acquaintance of his in Florida and he decided to try it as well. The response has been overwhelming, and it’s not hard to see why in Novak’s eyes.
“Just walk around town and you’ll see the need,” Novak said. “We want to provide a very nice atmosphere for people who don’t normally have dental work done, where they don’t have to worry about insurance or the cost of the procedure.”
People have been taking advantage of the service, as Novak estimates he did approximately $30,000 worth of work in last year’s one-day event. The event is first come, first serve, with people beginning to line up the night before.
“When I left here that Thursday at 5 p.m. last year, I already had six people waiting in line. When I got here the next morning about 7 to make sure we were functioning and ready to go, we had about 60 people waiting.”
All types of procedures are done including cleanings, fillings and extractions, Novak said. His only stipulation is that if a cleaning is being performed and the need for a filling arises, the person has to go to the end of the line and come back through.
Despite the wait, however, Novak says he’s never had any problem with people in line and it’s a “generally upbeat atmosphere.”
“I can understand people being nervous about procedures after not having had them done in a while perhaps, but I don’t want grumpy people telling me they had to wait and just being gloomy,” Novak said. “I consider this a fun day. Ask any member of my staff and they’ll tell you it’s a fun day.”
Because of the crowd, Novak will be renting out port-a-pottys. He said the good weather forecasted for Friday will hopefully bring out people who might be scared away by the rain.
“I hope we see 100 people outside waiting,” Novak said.
For more information on the event, contact Novak’s office, located at 326 S. Waco St. in Weatherford, at 817-594-7302 or visit his website at www.tomthedentist.com.