"Thank you. Just thank you."
That was the sentiment shared by the first 100 patients at Sunshine Dentistry in Cape May Court House Friday morning, some of whom started lining up at 4:30 in the morning for the free dental care being offered, beginning at 7 am.
"My friend was just telling me today that they couldn't have had work done unless they had something like this," explained patient Daniel Smith. Another patient said, "For me it's good because I don't have an insurance plan."
When it comes to keeping teeth clean and healthy, the bills can get expensive, and officials say that is why many Americans do not have dental insurance. That is why Dr. Eric Thomas and his staff decided to give free dental care to members of their community Friday morning.
Dr. Thomas said, "This is what I do. I am honored and happy to be able to give this to the patient's here in the community."
'Dentistry from the Heart' is a non–profit organization in Florida that works with dentists across the country to organize events in which patients are given free dental care. Dr, Thomas explained, "What they are being offered is either one filling, one cleaning, or an extraction."
Co-owner of Sunshine Dentistry, Stephanie Thomas, said, "For the most part, everyone has been very, very excited, very positive about it. We've had some people question, 'How are you doing this? How is this possible? You're really just giving this away?'"
The staff at Sunshine Dental said that they weren't looking to give back to the community, but rather they wanted to pay it forward.
Dr. Thomas added, "Everybody has a story, and we wanted to make sure that we are able to take care of them. We wanted to make sure that we pay it forward. We want to pay it forward to the community that we live in, right here in Cape May Court House and the surrounding counties."
Jessica Kuemmerle, a student dental assistant, said, "Wonderful. I mean I think that they really appreciate it. It's really helping them out, and so far we've had great success."
Sunshine Dentistry only offered free dental day for one day only.