Waukon Dental celebrating its 30th year of Have A Heart Day

30th year of Have A Heart Day ... Waukon Dental Registered Dental Hygienist Tracy works on a young patient. Area youth who have not had a recent dental visit are welcome to have an appointment scheduled for the 30th annual Have A Heart Day being hosted February 8 by Waukon Dental. Submitted photo.

Early years of Have A Heart Day ... Pictured above are refreshments offered and pictured below is Registered Dental Assistant Tonja assisting a couple of young dental patients during some of the early years of the annual Have A Heart Day event. Waukon Dental is celebrating 30 years of providing the free dental care event to area youth this year. Submitted photos.

by Lissa Blake

The professionals at Waukon Dental in Waukon realize there can be a number of reasons children don’t receive regular dental care.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, Waukon Dental is hosting its 30th Annual Have A Heart Day Saturday, February 8, an opportunity for area youth ages four to 18, who may not have regular dental care as accessible as they may need or prefer, to receive such care at no cost.

“We realize there are a number of obstacles families can face when seeking dental care. We want everyone to have access. That’s one of the reasons no financial proof is needed to be seen,” said Kristen Wilke, public relations and marketing director for Waukon Dental, Family Dentistry Associates of Monona and Dental Associates of Prairie du Chien, P.C. in Wisconsin.

This year, the Waukon and Monona offices will celebrate 30 years of offering Have A Heart Day, meant as a celebration to coincide with Valentine’s Day. The Prairie du Chien office is celebrating its 26th year.

“Family Chiropractic Associates first brought the idea to Waukon in 1991. Our goal is to provide services to those who have not sought recent dental care. Unlike many free healthcare days, no financial proof of need is required,” said Wilke.

“We don’t single out a particular reason,” said Judy Kurth, regional manager for those participating dental facilities, in regard to the patients they encourage to take part in Have A Heart Day.

Over the past 30 years, the three dental offices have served more than 1,800 patients. Services that will be available at no charge during the February 8 Have A Heart Day event include dental exams, x-rays, fillings, extractions and sealants.

“Due to time and room constraints, we may have to limit the number of services per patient, so calling ahead to make sure a scheduled time is in place is best,” said Wilke.

Dr. Linda Carstens, who has worked in Waukon since the beginning of Have a Heart Day, said she enjoys the annual day, where she and her colleagues can just focus on dentistry without the patients having to worry about the cost.

Dr. Jessica Wilke said sometimes Have A Heart Day is a time for families to take care of a serious dental issue. “We have had a couple of kids who have had cysts, abscesses or toothaches. Getting them out of pain is a really good thing,” she said. “It’s always a fun day because the kids are in a good mood.”

Kurth said since the beginning of the special day, the clinics have always tried to make it fun with refreshments, drawings and special giveaways.

“Dr. Greg and Ann Hagensick of Family Chiropractic brought the idea to town and helped organize and carry it out. For the first couple of years, Veterans Memorial Hospital also participated by offering public CPR instruction. It was a real community event where businesses donated things like savings bonds and other raffle items,” said Kurth. “We’d really like to say thank you to the local businesses who have supported this effort through the years. It has evolved from just exams and cavity detection to adding procedures.”

Doctors practicing at Waukon Dental include Drs. Linda Carstens, Jessica Wilke and Mark Fohey. Dr. Fohey also sees patients in Monona and Prairie du Chien, WI and Dr. Steven Kurth practices in the Prairie du Chien office.

Wilke said the event is scheduled during the Valentine’s season to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and to provide services to those in need. “Our goal is to provide services to those who have not sought recent dental care,” she said. “Developing good habits at an early age, as well as scheduling regular dental visits, helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.”

To schedule an appointment during Have A Heart Day, call the Waukon Dental office at 563-568-4528.

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