LAKE CHARLES, LA - Most don't equate Valentine's Day with a trip to the dentist. But based on the many hugs and kisses Dr. Harry Castle receives each February, he'll tell you that the two are a match made in heaven.
In 2002, Castle had the idea to host a Valentine's Free Dental Day at Oak Park Dental for those in the community who needed dental care, but who fell through the cracks because they were unemployed, uninsured, or weren't covered by state-subsidized dental insurance.
Twelve years later, Valentine's Day is the day Castle looks forward to the most — and he doesn't take a penny for treatments.
Patient sessions this year will begin at 8 a.m. Friday at the Oak Park Dental office, 1616 West McNeese St., Lake Charles. Since the event will end at 5 p.m., participants are asked to secure a place in line.
For more information, contact Oak Park Dental at 337-478-3232 or visit www.oakparkdental.com.
"Over the years, I've heard amazing stories that would melt your heart," Castle said. "Some patients have been in pain for years, but put off their own comfort to take care of their children; others have gotten jobs or other opportunities that with dental issues, may have been impossible…all due to free dental work.
"It's a long day for the staff, and the patients. But these stories make all the hard work worth it."
This Valentine's Day will mark the 12th anniversary of The Oak Park Dental Valentine's Free Dental Day. Castle credits his staff for making an event of this magnitude successful. He also applauds the other dentists who volunteer their time.