Mission Smiles gives dental care to anyone who needs it

Tampa dentists are on a mission to help bring smiles to the Bay Area. 

Encouraging words from Dr. John Raulerson ease his patients while they get care for their dental health.

He is one of many dentists giving free dental care for those who can't afford it.

While working on a mission in Africa, Dr. Raulerson got the idea to start a free dental clinic in Tampa.

"I have a giving heart and just love to be able to provide skills back to people who need it and there's a lot of people who need dental care," said Dr. Raulerson.

He partnered with Seminole Heights Baptist Church's Mission Tampa program to create Mission Smiles.

"Together we do their physical health, spiritual health, and for me, it's a blessing and it's a pleasure to be able to minister to spiritual health," said Larry Hopkins, who helped start the mission.

Dentist Janna Malatino has been helping out since the project started in 2011.

"The best feeling imaginable. It makes you feel, when you leave here, six feet off the ground," she explained.

Dr. Raulerson says that feeling is contagious.

"We're just trying to help give back to the community. A beautiful smile is important and I think it really boosts their confidence," he said.