ONALASKA, WI -

People came from as far as Illinois to get free dental care on Friday at Valley Dental in Onalaska as part of the national program, Dentistry from the Heart.

Patients could get dental work done, like extractions, fillings and cleanings for free on a first-come, first-served basis.

Valley Dental’s owner Dr. Mike Gavin said the first patient he saw in the morning had been waiting in line since midnight for the doors to open at 7:30 a.m.

“There’s a tremendous need,” Dr. Gavin said. “So many people don’t have access to care, don’t have the means for pay for dental care but certainly have the dental needs.”

Patient Jessica Smeath got a filling done Friday morning. She doesn’t have dental insurance. She said the free dental work means a lot to her and saves her a lot of money in the long-run.

“It’s been something that’s been bothering me for a while, so it’s good to get it taken care of,” Smeath said.

A local high school student worked with Dr. Gavin to set up a booth to provide more information to patients about oral hygiene.