By Kristin Beerman | email
Edited by Jon Bush | email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – You'll literally find a Mission of Mercy at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center this weekend, where about 400 dental volunteers and over 300 other volunteers in our community are coming together to provide free dental care to low income adults with no dental insurance. NewsChannel 11 was there early Thursday morning when 50 dental chairs were delivered and assembled as the exhibit hall was transformed into an enormous dental office complete with a dental lab and x-ray machines.
Over 75 dentists from around the Hub City are included in the list of dental volunteers coming from across the state of Texas. When the doors open Friday morning, they are expecting to be able to treat up to 1,000 low-income patients from the West Texas area who are in need of dental repair.
So, who qualifies for this Mission of Mercy and what can you expect this weekend?
"You've got to be willing to really come spend the entire day because we don't know what your scope of services will be and if you need say a root canal, and we have two endodontists on the floor, you may be the 20th in line so it'll be an all day commitment on the part of the patient," says Traci Whitney, Director of the Texas Dental Association’s Smiles Foundation.
Since 2001, nearly 14,000 patients have been treated in Texas by events like this through the Texas Mission of Mercy, sponsored by the Texas Dental Association's Smiles Foundation, but this is the first time this organization has come to Lubbock to help people in need.
"These are people who aren't able to go to work because they have toothaches, because they have stastemic illnesses, because they have a toothache,” said Kathy Nichols, D.D.S., Dental Chairman of the Lubbock Texas Mission of Mercy. She adds, “Now only certain people will qualify for this free service, and is definitely not for someone who just wants to come down and get their teeth cleaned. We won’t do that, and its not what this is about. This event is about taking care of those in acute need, those in pain with swelling and things like that."
The Mission of Mercy doors will open at 7 a.m. Friday morning at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. They ask that you understand that several hundred people have already been pre-screened through prior mobile dental units. Spaces are still available for those needing dental care, but they do ask that you please be patient while waiting in line.
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