CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Why not have some pearly whites this Valentine’s Day?
Dozens of people were lined up Wednesday outside Big Smile Dental, on the 2800 block of North Milwaukee, before the office opened at 9 a.m.
The reason? Big Smile Dental announced they would open their doors to the community offering free dental services on Valentine’s Day.
No appointments were necessary, but guests were encouraged to arrive early to guarantee a spot. Once the office opened at 9 a.m., guests in line received a time slot for treatment, on a first-come, first-serve basis. And because the services are free, no insurance was necessary.
A woman named Lily said she left her house in Ravenswood at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning to camp on the sidewalk starting at about 3:30 a.m.
She said she’s never had dental insurance and had not seen a dentist for 10 years. And added, back then she was told she had some cavities developing.
Brandon Norris, from Beverly, said it was great what the dentist was doing. He thought he’d be getting a tooth pulled and a cavity filled.
Free treatment included anything from exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, extractions and pain control.
This year marks the 13th year Dr. Theodore Siegel opened his doors for free treatment on Valentine’s Day.
“Big Smile Dental have been able to treat more than 5,500 people and provide over $2 million in free dentistry in the past 12 years, this year marks 13 years of the loving tradition,” the office said.
“For the last 12 years on Valentine’s Day I’ve worked all day doing nothing but fillings, extractions, and cleanings, all for free. And you know what? It’s the best day of my life as a dentist. I feel blessed to have a successful dental practice and I wanted to show my gratitude by offering free dental care to the less fortunate in our community. To see if I could make a difference in peoples lives. But a funny thing happened along the way. It was my life that changed the most. ”
Dr. Theodore Siegel told WBBM he had an army of volunteers, including other dentists who were volunteering for the day, “to see if we can make a difference in some people’s lives.”
He was downplaying what they were doing, saying people do things like this all the time.
“Although what everyone here is doing is fantastic – and I do have an army behind me – we have a lot of patients that are police and my thoughts go out to Commander Bauers family and friends, and to those risking their lives,” he said.
Dr. Siegel said there’s a need in the community and they were glad to give back.