So serious was the need, that one patient reportedly arrived at 3:30 a.m. and slept on the porch of the Douglas County Dental Clinic to make sure he got one of the 65 openings for free dental care on Friday. By 7 a.m., all of the appointments were full.
By the time the clinic closed its doors, it had done 65 examinations on low-income Douglas County residents who don’t have health insurance. Next came 46 fillings, two root canals, 12 extractions and 12 cleanings for people who were desperately in need of dental services they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford. The clinic estimated the value of the free care provided at the one-day event at $13,563.
Extra volunteers were on hand Friday — 25 dentists, hygienists and dental assistants donated their services — but caring for low-income patients is a year-round endeavor for the Douglas County Dental Clinic, located at 316 Maine. The clinic has been in operation since 2001 and provides care to hundreds of patients a month, charging on a sliding scale based on the patient’s income.
The dental clinic’s services are a vital piece of the local network that provides health care services to low-income people in the area. Friday’s grateful patients were just a few of the thousands the clinic helps every year. The community should be proud of the clinic and the contribution its staff and volunteers make to Lawrence.