PHOENIX - Thousands waited patiently on Friday for their turn at free dental work for the first Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy.
Many patients spent the night at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix waiting in line, while others woke up early to reserve a spot by 5 a.m. Nearly 1,500 volunteer dentists, hygienists, and lab assistants were there to provide dental care to those who were in need.
Jennifer Leos and her two sons, 8-year-old Ysmael and 12-year-old Abel had not seen a dentist in five years. All three of them were in desperate need of dental work.
“My eight year old has been crying and crying of a tooth ache, but I didn’t have the money to take him in and then I heard about this so it was perfect,” Leos said.
Pediatric dentist Kimberly Sherill said the number of children with dental problems is a growing problem. Sherill was inspired to contribute her expertise to this event after noticing a decline of patient checkups in her own office.
“We’ve seen people in our practice have lost jobs or have lost insurance. They’re still bringing their kids in as long as they can but they’re stretching out the time between their appointments or putting things off that are elective and waiting until things become an issue with pain until they bring them in,” Sherill said.
The treatment provided includes fillings, extractions, cleanings and other various procedures. Leos and her sons received all of the above listed and couldn’t be more thankful for the service. “We would have waited in line much longer than four hours to get this done. We are so grateful,” Leos said.
The free clinic continues from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 8th.
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