100s of Dental Professionals bring back smiles at free clinic

Keeping You Healthy: Free Dental Clinic
Published: Aug. 11, 2014 at 9:52 PM EDT
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The 3rd Annual North Carolina Missions of Mercy free dental clinic is set for September 5th.  The Charlotte Convention Center will be transformed into one of the largest dental offices in the country for 36 hours!  And the care patients get is free of charge.  But it won't happen without volunteers!

In the past two years dentists from across the Charlotte region have donated their time to help ease the pain of neighbors who can't afford dental procedures.  This year they are aiming to help 2,500 patients. They need 300 demists and hygienists, and 200 medical volunteers as well as lay volunteers to guide patients through the process.

Dr. Keith Owens is an orthodontist and one of the co-chairs this year. He's seen how life-changing the work they do can be for patients. "Its to help them get a job some if you go in there and you smile and you're missing two teeth the guys going to have a negative feeling about it," Dr. Owens told me.

But none of their work can be done without the help of hundreds of volunteers.  Dr. Evan Miller has been at every Charlotte clinic.  "We say the heroes of this thing are people who have nothing to do with dentistry at all and they come and they escort patients and they help us on the clerical side," Dr. Miller said, hoping to encourage you to consider volunteering.

We spoke with volunteers at previous clinics who say the experience is one of the most rewarding events they've been a part of.

Doors for the clinic open Friday September 5 at 12:01am.  The crowd forms early so get there early.  We met a man last year who arrived Thursday at 6pm.  Pack snacks and your patients.  Once they fill the center with 25 hundred patients they can't accept any more.  And if you take medications, bring them with you.  There are some other requirements that you'll find on the NCMOM web site.

You'll also find more information on how to volunteer as well.