Cape May Court House dentist Eric Thomas is looking to "spread free smiles" throughout his community Feb. 8 by offering free dental care to the county's uninsured adult residents.
Thomas, a graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine who served in U.S. Army Dental Corps and is in private practice at Sunshine Dentistry in Cape May Court House, said he wants to give back to his community and pay it forward.
"So I sought out Dentistry from the Heart," Thomas said. "There's always a need, especially in this difficult economic climate, and I feel dental care is a basic need, and it's one I can provide. I have been blessed with the gift of dentistry, and I want to share it."
Dentistry from the Heart is a nonprofit organization formed by one doctor in 2001, that provides a network of encouragement and support to other doctors across North America to provide free dental care to uninsured individuals in their communities. Since forming, Dentistry from the Heart has served communities in 49 states in the United States and Canada.
Thomas' Dentistry from the Heart event will be the first-ever in Cape May County. On the day of the event, patients will receive either a free cleaning, a filling or an extraction, the latter done by Dr. Christopher Rochford, of Cape Atlantic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, also based in Cape May Court House.
Rochford will be volunteering his time and skills at Thomas' office on this day.
Thomas said on a basic level his goal for this event is to provide dental care to those in need.
"I don't want people to have be in pain or have to go the emergency room because of something that could have been prevented with a basic visit," he said.
But on a deeper level, his hope is to ignite a spirit of giving in his community and encourage others to give back where and how they can.
"It has to start somewhere," Thomas said. "Some doctors prefer to travel across the world to impoverished areas to serve the people there, and I support that wholeheartedly, but I prefer to stay and serve right here, where we live, where we go to the school, in our town."
Contact Elisa Lala:
If you go
What: Free dental services offered on a first come, first serve basis
Where: Sunshine Dentistry, 109 W. Atlantic Ave., Cape May Court House.
When: Friday, Feb. 8. Registration starts at 7 a.m., patients seen through 5 p.m.
Patients are encouraged dress appropriately for the weather and to bring chairs, blankets, water, snacks, etc. as they may be outside waiting to be seen. To participate in this program, all patients must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of Cape May County.
Call 609-465-5415. For information on Dentistry from the Heart, visit dentistryfromtheheart.org.