In Sumner on Thursday, Nov. 1 there is likely to be gridlock on Main Street running through downtown.
This is because Dr. April Ziegele, a practicing dentist in Sumner for the past 16 years, will open her office for one day to offer free dental services to those ages 18 and older. She is a sponsored dentist through the national nonprofit Dentistry from the Heart, which for more than 10 years has offered free dental service to more than 30,000 Americans.
“The way the economy is, there are so many who are hurting,” Ziegele said. “For me, I’ve been given so much in life and if you have much, you need to give much. That’s what I was taught.”
Dentistry from the Heart was founded by Dr. Vincent Monticciolo in New Port Richey, Florida. He started the first free dental care day at his practice in 2001.
Ziegele said the nonprofit has informed her that based on previous numbers from other events, she could expect anywhere from 600 to 1,000 people in need of services coming to her door.
Ziegele said because of staff constraints and the size of her facility, she is hoping to serve at least 250 to 300 people. Ziegele said Drs. Kim Okamura and Jaime Lee, practicing dentists in King County, will assist her. In addition, there will be 15 dental assistants on-hand, including 10 dental students coming from Clover Park Technical College in Tacoma. All of the staff will be women.
“We’ll have girl power that day,” Ziegele said.
The Sumner Starbucks will donate coffee for up to 80 people and Happy Donuts in Puyallup will donate seven dozen donuts. Also, Little Caesars in Sumner will provide lunch for staff.
Services provided will include only extractions, fillings and general teeth cleanings. Ziegele said she has five treatment rooms. So, she hopes to treat five patients at one time.
“People who need extra emergency care will be referred to Anchor Endodontics (in Puyallup) or Auburn Valley Endodontics,” Ziegele said.
Outside of the free dental day, Ziegele is proud to also donate more than $60,000 of dental care annually through her office. Predominately, she serves women in domestic abuse situations.
Ziegele has her doctorate in dentistry from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry and graduated in 1997. She has practiced in Sumner since then and lives with her husband, Jon and two children, Christopher and Lauren, in Lake Tapps.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 108 million people in America go without dental insurance.
“In the long-term, I hope we can make a dent in the number of people who don’t have access to dental care,” Ziegele said. “In the short-term, I hope we can provide relief to those who have pain.”
Ziegele Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry is located at 15324 Main Street, Ste. A, Sumner, 98390.
No appointment is required. Only those 18 and older will be served. Ziegele ask that people carpool or find alternative parking away from the office and walk in. Parking is limited on the street and in the office parking lot. Services will be provided from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1.
Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.