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Dentistry from the Heart Union Dental Family Services and Dr. George Green provided free dental services for those in need I

t was a rare cold and rainy Saturday in February – one of the few we experience in

South Florida – and hundreds of people were huddled under the awnings of the 1700 building on University Drive in Coral Springs. Most people try to avoid the dentist, but on this day, the patients were all smiles.

For the second year in a row, Union Dental Family Services

and Dr. George

Green donated their time and resources to offer free dental care to those in need. “We, as a country, are going through very difficult times,” says Dr. Green. laid off

”People have from their this been jobs and

have a hard time making ends meet.” With

in mind, on technicians February and 12,

2011, Dr. Green assembled a team of 10 professional dentists and dozens of assistants,


personnel to participate in the second “Dentistry from the Heart” day. Fillings, extractions and whatever dental needs the team was able to take care of that day were performed at no charge for those who are unemployed, underprivileged, needy or

facing financial difficulty. With health

care costs at an all-time high, along with housing costs and unemployment


“dental hygiene is not a high priority,” adds Dr. Green.

p Dr. Joaquin Zagarra works in the triage area with several assistants

Upon arrival, prospective patients had to wade through the crowd to the front door, where a sign up sheet was hanging. Every so often, one of the volunteers in a yellow “Dentistry From the Heart” t-shirt would walk up to the second floor

landing and call out

names to the crowd. The selected group would then be admitted into the office waiting room. The first stop was triage, where Dr. Green and Dr. Joaquin Zagarra were diagnosing patients in two chairs, taking x-rays and numbing areas to be worked on. The patient was then sent to one of 13 chairs throughout the office for his or her procedure.

Overseeing the entire day was Joe Pignatiello, Business Manager for Union Dental Holdings, Inc. “You remember the TV show MASH?” he asks. “That’s what today is like.” Although the doctors were not necessarily treating life-threatening injuries, a new smile can give someone who’s been down on “It is a tremendous

feeling (when it is all over) that you have been able to help some very deserving people,”

says Pignatiello.

p Dr. Maria Perez - Diaz works on a filling

q Dr. George Green diagnoses a patient

each treatment area were set to VH1, quietly playing music videos to soothe patients, some who hadn’t seen a dentist in years. When each patient was finished, they were sent to the front reception desk, not to make a payment, but to pick up a gift bag filled with floss,

toothpaste, a toothbrush

and other goodies, courtesy of vendors such as Crest.

Other local companies that contributed to the day are Michelle King and the Dental Assisting students and staf f from Atlantic Technical Center, the Fraternal Order of Police FOP Lodge 87, Sam’s Club in Coral Springs, Metro Broward


Fire Fighters IAFF Local 3080, Henry Schein Dental, Proctor & Gamble Co., Publix Pharmacies, Chris Gonzalez & World Wide Unlimited Supplies, Benco Dental, Ideal Site Services, LLC and Darby Dental.

Mr. “I personally

p Dr. Sekler & dental assistant Tami Hatfield perform an extraction

their luck a whole new lease on life. And these weren’t just any doctors; these were Ivy League graduates and accomplished doctors in a variety of fields, such as endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, orthodontics and general dentistry.

Participating dentists included Dr. George Green, DDS, G.P., General Dentistry and Endodontist; Dr. Stuart Hirsch, DMD, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; Dr. Allan Gross, General Dentistry; Dr. Julio Sekler, DMD – Board Certified, Periodontist

and Oral

Surgeon; Dr. Paulo Sarria, General Dentistry; and Dr. Maria Perez - Diaz, Oral Surgeon and Periodontist.

The goal of the day was to take care of at least 125 patients, and possibly more if

time allowed before

5 pm. As the doctors worked quickly and ef ficiently, the television sets all around the of fice and in

would like to thank all of the vendors who donated product and all of the volunteers who gave up their

valuable the weekend

time to help us because without

donated and the people to help, we would not have been able to be as successful as we were.”

When all was said and done, 125 deserving people were treated that day. The only downside to the event was that 500 people actually showed up and the staf f was not able to treat everyone. Union Dental is in the process of doubling the size of their facility to approximately 8,000 square feet with 22 operatories by this time next year. Hopefully they reach their goal so they can be truly ef fective in treating everyone who comes to the event in 2012.

Dr. Green has been in the same location for 25 years. With such dedication to the community, it’s no wonder that the U.S. Commerce Association recently selected him as The Best Dentist in Coral Springs for the third year in a row.

To Advertise in Coral Springs and Parkland City News, Please call 954-255-5226 March 2011 63 product

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