Earlier this September, some 175 community members in Lawrenceville, Georgia received free dental care, despite being uninsured. Ten dentists and fifteen dental hygienists donated their time and expertise for one day at the Center for Cosmetic and Sedation Dentistry to give the poor in their community a rare gift.
New Reasons to Smile
For many of the patients that were seen, it was their first trip to the dentist in years. A staggering number of people in Lawrenceville, and across the country, let their dental decay go untreated simply because the cost of seeing a dentist is so high. Without insurance, many find that it is impossible to get the attention they need. Sadly, that goes for adults and children alike.
During the time that this free clinic was open, 175 passes were given out to people living in poverty. Each pass that was issued could be used for a professional cleaning, a filling, or even an extraction. In all cases the work was long overdue. Some patients had to wait in line for up to 12 hours to be seen, but they found that it was well worth the wait. The opportunity for free dental care is practically unheard of; for most, their toothaches and cavities just become something they have to live with.
A Gift to the Community
But this wasn’t the first event of its kind in Lawrenceville. This year marked the sixth annual free dentistry day. Since the event first began, the need for free dental care has gone up tremendously. Dr. Nooredin Nurani, one of the dentists who donated his time and labor this year, has noticed the increasing number of people in the community who cannot afford even the most basic dental care. That trend can of course be seen in communities across the country and the world.
Healthier People for a Healthier Town
All of the organizers and volunteers for the free dentistry day know the importance of giving back to their community. For one day out of the year, the poorest and the neediest people, young and old, are given a tremendous gift– a gift which anyone who can afford dental care probably takes for granted. An alleviation of pain, or potential pain, lets these patients get on with their lives instead of trying to cope with their dental decay because they have no other choice. It is truly a generous act of humanitarianism to offer this kind of treatment for free.
Communities with a high poverty rate and a high cost of dental care can follow the lead of those in Lawrenceville by organizing their own free dentistry day. All it takes is a group of compassionate volunteers, professionals who are willing to donate their time, and a community in which people who are better off are willing to help those in need. In any town or city, an event like this can make a huge difference in many lives.