Free dental clinic for children in need of care

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Hundreds of local children now have pearly white smiles after a two-day free dental clinic in west Charlotte.

It was a partnership between Project LIFT and the North Carolina Dental Health Fund. This NC Missions of Mercy pediatric dental clinic was a first of its kind and helped nearly 700 students, most of them from Project LIFT schools. The project was funded by the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation.

"It gives you goose bumps a little bit you know. Most of these kids have never been to the dentist before so you want to make it fun for them," said Lekecia McGee, President of the Old North State Dental Society.

"Everyone doesn't have dental insurance, and there is a fear factor sometimes that children and parents feel that the dentist will be a painful experience," said Dr. Spurgeon Webber, III who helped to organize the clinic.

They wanted children to become familiar with the dentists chair and the dentists tools, but those who passionately put this program together say that have an additional, bigger goal in mind. Studies show dental problems are a big reason some kids do poorly in school.

"Dental pain, a broken tooth, maybe they can't eat or have loss of concentration. It all can stem from a tooth ache," McGee said.

Any problems that dentists found at this clinic that they couldn't treat, will get follow-up care.

"General practices across the region will see these children and if we can't find a practice for a particular child, the Mecklenburg County Health Department can see them, instead," Webber said.

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