COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Dentists and staff at Colorado Springs Comfort Dental offices gave the gift of a clean smile to people in need Tuesday.
Tuesday's Care Day is a Christmas Eve tradition at Comfort Dental. It offers free dental care for people in need. Last year it saw 6,000 patients throughout its offices in 11 states. It gave away $1.5 million in free dental services.
Jamie and Melissa Rini were waiting patiently for Santa, and a visit with the dentist Tuesday.
"I have a crack in my tooth and so I can get it fixed," said 9-year-old Melissa Rini.
"My shiny tooth was hurting," said 8-year-old Jamie Rini.
The two girls and their father James Rini got in line at 5:30 a.m. for a chance to receive free dental care. Rini's work cut back on his hours so he lost his health benefits.
"It's very difficult right now as a family father or a single parent. It's really difficult. (It's) times like this we are grateful for comfort dental," said Rini.
After three hours in the waiting room, dentists got to work mending the girls' tooth aches.
"To myself and my family, I see this as a Christmas gift because it's really helping out," said Rini.
Dr.Travis Edwards spent Christmas Eve at work, but he couldn't be happier. He gave a gift people in need can't afford.
"We see some people who are in fairly rough shape that maybe have some abscess tooth or something that's causing them some pain," said Edwards. "The mouth is the gateway to the body and we find more and more connections where the overall health of the body are connected to issues in the mouth so it is very important."
The Comfort Dental location at 509 N. Academy Boulevard was able to see 100 patients during Care Day. People started lining up at 2:30 a.m.
Charles Ornelas snagged the 99th spot in line.
"I was almost the last one in line so it's a blessing in disguise," said Ornelas. "This helps us out a lot to be able to do this for us."
Care Day wrapped up at 11:30 a.m.
Ornelas and the Rinis left Comfort Dental merry and bright, because their Christmas teeth will be healthy and white.