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Promise of free dental work draws thousands in Connecticut

Published time: April 25, 2014 17:27
Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

A free dental clinic held annually in Connecticut is expected to attract thousands of people who lack the proper health insurance coverage for everything from routine checkups to oral surgery.

Held on Friday and Saturday, this year in Hartford, the clinic is operated by the Connecticut Mission of Mercy and staffed by more than 1,500 volunteers and 250 dentists. The seventh annual event began attracting lines of people early Thursday morning, encompassing hundreds of people by the evening.

According to local news outlet WFSB, mission doctor Bruce Tandy said the dental clinic has grown every year over the past seven, and roughly 2,400 patients will be treated through Saturday.

"This is going to be the biggest clinic ever done on the East Coast, so we're pretty excited about it," Tandy said to the news station.

The clinic operates on a first-come, first-serve basis, and offers a range of dental services: health screenings, cleanings, X-Rays, cavity fillings, oral surgery, extractions, and even temporary partial prosthetics.

Speaking with the Associated Press, Tandy said the clinic is meant to serve individuals who do not typically have access to dental services and people who remain uninsured. The doctor added that Connecticut is home to thousands of people who, despite not qualifying for Medicaid, cannot afford dental insurance.

One pair of people attending – twins Ethel and Evelyn Jones – said they arrived in Hartford 24 hours before the clinic was scheduled to open to ensure they’d receive treatment.

"I'm so early because I need my mouth worked on," Ethel Jones told WFSB. "I don't have insurance, so this is the way I need to go."

"Anything they can do for me, anything they can do, I need," added Evelyn Jones.

According to NBC Connecticut, the mission clinic has treated more than 11,000 patients since it first started in 2008. It has also provided about $6 million in dental care.

Tandy said that although the clinic cannot hope to provide all the care patients need, he hopes that lawmakers realize how important it is that Americans have access to the proper healthcare.

"Everybody here loves taking care of these patients," he said. "We do this every day in our offices, but this is special."

Comments (7)


Diez Sanchez 27.04.2014 18:37

Your ruining the Republican strategy of reducing the poors need for more food support! With no dental care, they strategize they can save billions to use in nations like Ukraine & Syria ...if the poors mouth hurt so much from rotting teeth , they don't eat or flat out reduce intake! How dare liberals & rt prove the poor in America mouths are literally rotting from eating all d majority Republican controlled B.S! Ha! Now Republicans r going 2 Take away more aid from the poor cuz the poor have enough strengh to stand in line for free dental care! Look out free dental! That money can pay for more Ukraines & Syria's!!


DoAskDoTell 26.04.2014 11:57

Strategies of Robbing from the bottom up for the last 30+ Yrs... now going into serious decline to feed the u.s. military contractors, politicians and masters o.t.univ. Games

TINA = there is no alternative for US military industrial complex (exponentially growing oil-intensive industry)

9 9% => 0.1% middle class =>0.01% middle class

Aus terity for the 400+ Oligarchs => 1? (like the Queen)


Salvatore 26.04.2014 07:53

Great to read such!

View all comments (7)
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