SALISBURY, Md. -
Volunteers and those in need of dental treatment are invited to a free dental clinic at the Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury Friday and Saturday.
It's all part of the Eastern Shore's Mission of Mercy. Dr. Terry Dickenson, Executive Director of the Virginia Dental Association, started the project in Virginia in 2000. Since then, it has grown to several states across the nation.
The clinic will begin at 5 a.m. both days, and services will include cleanings, fillings or extractions. No wisdom teeth extractions, removal of impacted teeth or dentures will be part of the event. However, patients need no insurance or co-payments. Only people 18 and older will be allowed on the premises.
Rowland Holsinger has participated at the event in Salisbury in 2013 and 2015, and says from experience that patients will need patience and remember to bring fluids.
“If you are going to be a patient, make sure you understand that you could be here for anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. Bring water, make sure you're as nourished as possible. There's a lot of standing. And just be patient."
Volunteers are still needed and the organizers will be accepting walk-ins. Duties will includes assisting in the parking lot, waiting lines, waiting rooms, escorting patients from area to area, volunteer hospitality, inventory management, and patient check out.
Organizers will be looking for athletes or stronger volunteers to participate in the tear down on Saturday are 2 to 8 p.m.
Shifts for volunteers on Friday and Saturday will be 5 a.m. to noon, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Kelly Brinkley volunteered at the event in Salisbury in 2015, and says she loves seeing faces on their patients when she helps out.
“It's amazing. Just the people who, they are overwhelmed by the fact that you’ve volunteered. You're giving your time for free to help them get dental care. And they laugh, and they smile and they want to hug your neck.”
Holsinger says there is always a need for more volunteer dentists as well.
“We can still use more dentists. They have to have an active Maryland Dental License. That's pretty much what they need.”
The event is expected to serve 1,200 patients at 130 dental stations. In addition to the approximately 475 dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants -- it will take an estimated 1,200 community volunteers to assist in the logistics.
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