Twenty dentists will provide free dental care Friday as part of the sixth annual Dentists Who Care for ME event.

The volunteer dentists will provide teeth cleanings, fillings and extractions for people who cannot afford regular dental care and who do not have dental insurance. Patients will receive one oral care service or be referred to a specialist and given a voucher for care.

The program was founded by Dr. Demi Kouzounas and Dr. Barry Saltz of Scarborough, who estimate 600 patients were examined last year. Services provided to those patients were valued at more than $100,000.

“We were so busy that many of us skipped lunch so we would be able to examine each and every person who wanted to see a dentist,” Kouzounas said.

The program begins at 8 a.m. Services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Kouzounas said it is not uncommon for people to start lining up three hours before the program starts.

“We have a lot of people in Maine who are working poor who have no dental coverage,” she said. “For people to pay $200 for an extraction or filling, that’s a lot, especially this time of year. We want to help those people who need an extra helping hand or who have been suffering from a toothache for a while.”

The dentists, specialists, dental assistants and hygienists who donate their time, say patients are always grateful to get dental care they cannot afford otherwise.

“People truly appreciate the services they receive. That’s what keeps me coming back,” said Dr. Joseph Penna, who will donate his time at Dunstan Dental in Scarborough.

Participating dentists include Dr. Nicholas Roy and Dr. David Jacobson in Buxton; Dr. Kathryn Horutz, Dr. Leighton Philbrick and Dr. Alan Chebuske in Portland; Dr. Amy Fuller, Dr. Jonathan Bernstein and Dr. Carolyn Morin in Yarmouth and Dr. Demi Kouzounas and Dr. Denise Theriault in Skowhegan.

Participating Scarborough dentists include Drs. Joseph Penna, Colette Sirois, Nichol Penna, Doug Delli Colli, Stephen Morse, Barry Saltz, Michael Cwiklinski, Andra Boak and Daniel Ravin.

Additional information is available at www.medental.org.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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Twitter: grahamgillian