The Academy Dental team. Shannon Mercer

Local dentist offers free dental work for a day

Dentistry From The Heart is back at Sooke Academy Dental on April 25.

Need a visit from the Tooth Fairy? Well, she’s coming to Sooke for this year’s Dentistry From The Heart event — and it’s free.

Academy Dental in Sooke is again hosting its all-day, all-free dentistry work on Monday (April 25), from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the only thing standing in the way is, well, one’s willingness to stand in line.

More so, it’s an opportunity for a local business to see the community’s face and vice-versa, said Joanna Peitler, office manager at Academy Dental.

“By doing this, we can directly see the result of what we’re donating to the community, since so many people can’t afford dental work,” said Joanna Peitler, office manager at Academy Dental.

People can choose one of three options: one filling, one extraction or one cleaning. They’re generally not lengthy procedures, as they can’t have a person in for an hour while others are kept waiting, Peitler said.

The idea started four years ago when Peitler went to a practice management course in Toronto. There, she was surprised how many offices in the city were doing this. It was only a matter of time before she thought to swing the idea in motion here.

“It’s a business, but at the same time, you can’t run a business without having a heart about it,” she said.

It can be a bit of a wait. Last year, people started lining up as early 3 a.m. to get a spot regardless of outside conditions.

“Sometimes it’s a few hours wait, but we really try to see everybody in that lineup and we generally do,” Peiter said.

Last year, Academy Dental’s Sooke office saw between 80 and 100 people, while its Victoria office on Fort St. saw around 200 people.

With six dentists and seven hygienists working full-time between both offices, Peitler said it provides close to $80,000 worth of dentistry in one day, all of it free.

This year, Peitler hopes more local dentists get involved in the Dentistry From the Heart program as well.

“We would like to challenge the other dentists Sooke to do it as well, because there’s definitely a need for it,” she said, adding that any donations from the community and local restaurants will help feed people waiting in line.

“People get hungry, thirsty, so it would be great for people to be comfortable while waiting. Musical entertainment is welcome too,” she said.

For more info, please call Academy Dental at 778-425-4140.