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Program looks to ‘fill’ a need in the community

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Free dental care caused long lines to form at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. More than 1,000 volunteers helped more than 1,200 people in need of a check-up or repair.

Stations were set up to keep the event organized. There was even a section just for kids. People were able to get cleanings, fillings, root canals, partials, and much more.

The two-day clinic was organized by IndianaMOM Mission of Mercy. The outreach program estimated more than $1 million worth of services was provided for free.

Treatments were given on a first-come, first-served basis. Patients signed in, received a health history screening and a dental treatment.

“Everyone who showed up donated their time. Dentist, hygienist, technicians, and volunteers,” said Dr. Paul Jansen

Timothy Wilson waited few hours to be treated and said it was well worth it because it was a service he could not afford.

“I got a filling and I got a cleaning, I was not looking forward to that,” said Timothy Wilson

.While doctors said good oral hygyiene is good for a person’s overalll health, they also said they found it rewarding giving many self-esteem they lacked.

Dr. Rebecca DeLaRosa said, “One of the individuals I just spoke to he said, ‘You know I have been without work for three months now,’ and he goes, ‘Now I know I can walk in and speak more freely,’ and he said,’Because frankly I feel like sometimes I’m not considered because I’m not presentable,’ so that makes a difference there.”

Many other states also have Mission of Mercy events. Since 2000, more than 135,000 patients have received free dental care through the event and more than $85 million in dental services has been donated.