Doctors with a Heart take the bite out of dental bills

Patients crowd the waiting room of Deerhaven Family Dentistry, excited to get free dental care through the Doctors with a Heart program.

More than 100 people got a brand new smile on Wednesday thanks to the generosity of the hardworking staff at Deerhaven Family Dentistry in Traverse City.

For the 15th year in a row the dentist office hosted it's Doctors With a Heart event.

It's a day where people without insurance have the chance to get free dental care.

Deerhaven Family Dentistry Office Manager Beth Nowosacki says, "I just had one woman today who said she just prays that her teeth will be fine, one day she wakes up with a terrible tooth ache and so she just has to deal with it because she doesn't have the money to go to dentist. She drove up from Cadillac to come, she's will have three teeth pulled."

Dentists Dr. Jason Merrithew, Dr. Steven Niergarth and Dr. Wayne Olson along with the complete Deerhaven Family Dentistry staff made this day a reality by volunteering their time and services free of charge.

Dr. Jason Merrithew from Deerhaven Family Dentistry says, "I can't build a house or fix a car but I can give back by helping with teeth, hopefully it make an impact in someone's life, hopefully it helps their smile."

People started lining up at 5:00am Wednesday morning and by 8:30am the staff at Deerhaven Family Dentistry had to start turning people away. Deerhaven Family Dentistry Office Manager Beth Nowosacki says, "We want to help as many people as possible. We had 102 people signed in at 8:23am, that is a record, we've never had that many people!"

Deerhaven Family Dentistry staff says this year's turn-out is an eye-opening reminder of just how the big the need is here in northern Michigan.