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Free dental clinic attracts hundreds of patients
TROY - A major undertaking in Troy received a massive reception Friday. Five hundred people received free dental care at the New York State Mission of Mercy held at Hudson Valley Community College. The clinic will reopen Saturday morning at 6.
CBS6 News met Corianne Birdsall right after she had a tooth pulled, a root canal and two fillings. She was still smiling.
Its been phenomenal. I've actually cried so much today because people keep saying it's your turn, this is for you, she said.
Birdsall said she doesn't have dental insurance through her job, so she hasn't seen a dentist in about six years. She said she is a mother and her daughter's needs come first, despite the fact that she has been dealing with tooth pain and headaches.
It was excruciating. I couldn't eat anything cold, hot, I couldn't eat anything hard, said Birdsall.
We want to serve as many people as we can, said Dr. Brian Kennedy, Co-Chair of the New York State Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic.
Dr. Kennedy helped plan the clinic, which transformed the HVCC field house into a waiting room and exam room, with a space for oral surgery. Two hundred Dentists, 200 hygienists and hundreds of other volunteers were set up to take x-rays, do cleanings, fillings, extractions, partial prosthetics and more. Organizers said more than 1200 people volunteered and more than $312,000 was donated to support the work.
Dr. Kennedy said the clinic is aimed at helping a growing population of people who don't have dental insurance through their job and don't have Medicaid.
That group in the middle is getting bigger and bigger. A lot of that has to do, I think, with businesses tapering off with dental benefits and putting more money into medical. There's just more people who need this care, said Dr. Kennedy.
Dr. Kennedy said the clinic is also about education and drawing attention to a community need. He said volunteers worked to set people up with future care when they leave.
This is a blessing. This place, it's just a blessing to be here, said Chuck Lareau, a patient.
Lareau said he is on a fixed income and hasn't been able to see a dentist in a while either. As the volunteers worked he couldn't help but thank them all.
I feel like a million bucks, so when I leave here today I'll feel like 2 million bucks, he said. The whole place is on my Christmas mailing list as of today.
Organizers expect more people to come Saturday. People don't have to sign up. It's first come, first serve. Organizers recommend coming early.