CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Once again this year the North Carolina Missions of Mercy (NCMOM) is hosting a free dental clinic at the Charlotte Convention Center and they are in need of more volunteers.
The clinic will start Friday December 7 at 6:00 a.m. and run non-stop until Saturday December 8 at 6:00 p.m.
Dr. Evan Miller, one of the many dentists volunteering his time, says they are in need of more volunteers as the clinic draws closer.
"We could use more dentists, and other general volunteers," Dr. Miller told me.
You must be 16 years old to volunteer and be willing to work a five hour shift.
"Right now the greatest needs are for the shifts, Friday at 7pm until midnight and 1am until 7am," says Dr. Miller.
He encourages WBTV viewers to contact their dentist and ask if they're aware of the program. Perhaps your dentist will be willing to donate some of his or her time.
They also need lay people as well, "Last year we had over 900 people volunteer to be things like patient escorts and help with check-in," Dr. Miller said.
Last year was the first time NCMOM hosted a clinic in Charlotte. They had more people than expected and unfortunately had to turn some people away.
They ask that if you are planning on coming, "Pack your patience and understanding," Dr. Miller told me. "We work around the clock and do our best to help as many people as possible, but keep in mind, last year people camped out to be there when doors opened."
2,100 people were helped in 2011. The weather was warmer, so turnout might not be as large, but they are planning on offering a warm place for people to wait once the doors open at six Friday morning.
This year the Carolina's Heathcare Foundation donated the use of Med One, a state-of-the-art mobile surgical center.
"Basically they can do anything inside Med One they do at CMC Main," said Dr. Miller. "We believe that will help us move along extractions at a faster rate, allowing us, we hope to help even more people."
People started waiting in line at midnight and Dr. Miller says even with cold temperatures we can expect the same kind of turnout.
"We ask people to pack their patience. We want to help as many people as we can, that's why we work around the clock," he said.
The North Carolina Missions of Mercy is an outreach program of the North Carolina Dental Society.
Dr. Miller says the major goal of the clinic is to separate people from pain and infection. "Nutrition is perhaps the most impacted by pain, when people are hurting they can't eat, and we want to help fix that!"