Dr. David Potts runs Lake County Dental Care in Libertyville and has hosted an event called Smiles from the Heart for the past eight years. Smiles from the Heart is a day-long event at which Dr. Potts, his staff and a group of volunteers offer free dental care to adults who can’t otherwise afford it on a first come, first served basis. This year the event will take place at 908 S. Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville on May 19 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Potts, who first opened his practice in 1974, heard about the event from a friend of his who is a dentist based outside of Oklahoma City. That was nine years ago and the event has gained a lot of national popularity since, with similar events now taking place in California, Texas and Ohio, just to name a few.
Potts and his team feel passionate about helping adults who are under financial distress or without dental insurance, and he says they make sure to treat them with great respect and care. They perform everything from simple cleanings to more intense procedures like filling cavities or taking care of root canals.
“We treat these people just like they would be treated if they were a patient at the practice,” Dr. Potts says. “We try and be very upbeat, and help as many people as we can.”
The dental practice promotes the event by contacting local church groups, food pantries and shelters, as well as running some radio advertisements that reach people all across the city. He says people who have come in years past often return and sometimes they bring new patients with them.
Potts says his team of volunteers keeps the line of patients running smoothly in the front and out the back so that they can treat as many people as possible. Their record of patients treated is around 80. Other years it has ranged between 30 and 50.
Potts and his staff usually have the patients fill out cards explaining what the dental work means to them, and he says everyone is always extremely gracious.
“It just makes you feel so good to read what they have to say about it,” Potts says. “You know if you are able to help fill or fix someone’s front tooth, that can be a life-changing thing for them.”
The dental practice can always use more donations for the services, as the work and procedures they perform can be expensive. Anyone who wants to make a donation can make a check payable to Smiles from the Heart. For more information about the event or if you’d like to volunteer, please contact Lake County Dental Care at 847-362- 6540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.