Over 900 people get free dental care in Salina

Dentist (KSN File Photo)

SALINA, Kansas- The Kansas Mission of Mercy expects to help thousands of Kansans needing dental care.

“It’s a long wait but definitely worth it, especially if you need work done,” said Kellie Vaughn.

The Concordia resident had six teeth pulled, and got a prescription for an infected tooth. She is just one of the estimated 2,000 people who will get free dental work this weekend.

“It’s a good feeling, because dental work is expensive and a lot of people can’t afford it, a lot of people don’t have dental insurance so it’s good to get these people out of pain and if there’s any infection we get that taken care of,” said Rhonda Scott, a dental hygienist.

To handle the wave of Kansas needing dental work, the Mission of Mercy came prepared with more than four-hundred volunteers, including one-hundred dentists.

“We will produce over a million dollars of dentistry in the next two days and we are going to do all of that for about a $140,000 that’s been given to us in donations in kind and in cash,” said Cindy Reed, an Orthodontist.

All the major dental work is done in a gym including cleanings, fillings, extractions and some root canals.

“It’s been years since I’ve seen a dentist, I don’t even remember the last time I saw a dentist, and I’ve never had work done like this,” said Vaughn.

Officials with Mission of Mercy say most people who come don’t have dental insurance or are afraid that they need so much work that they can’t afford it.

“A lot of people are scared to go to the dentist and put it off for such a long time that A. they either feel too embarrassed or B. feel like they have too much to get done or get done at one time,” said Earl O’Hara.

For those like Kellie, they’re just happy to be out of pain.

“My cheeks might be swollen right now but it will be worth it in the long run.”

Over nine-hundred people will be served on Saturday. There are many spots still open for kids.

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