More than 300 students from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools had their teeth cleaned, X-rayed and – sometimes – pulled Tuesday as part of a collaboration between Project LIFT and the dental community.
It marked the second dental clinic sponsored by Project LIFT, the $55 million public-private partnership that supports West Charlotte High and its feeder schools.
The first was held in February, when more than 700 students came in for routine checkups. Organizers found that the children needed more extensive work than they were prepared for.
“We just saw a lot of need, a lot of dental treatments that were needed,” said Dr. Brandi Jackson, a pediatric dentist who helped with the first clinic and was back doing procedures Tuesday. “We saw a lot of kids who are in pain.”
This time, about 16 dentists and an equal number of hygienists and dental assistants treated students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. They filled cavities, extracted teeth and performed root canals and routine cleanings.
Tuesday’s event included the nine Project LIFT schools and nearly a dozen others, including Reid Park Academy, Albemarle Road Elementary, and Huntingtowne Farms Elementary.
Nonprofits TeamSmile and North Carolina Missions of Mercy, and dental suppliers Preventech and Henry Schein donated supplies and sent volunteers to the event, held at Friendship Mission Baptist Church.
For many students, the clinic was their first time at the dentist. They generally were referred by their schools after suffering from tooth pain.
“It’s interfering with their ability to learn, to perform and really to function on a daily basis,” said Al King of Preventech.
Denada Jackson, a spokeswoman for Project LIFT, said the program is working with the Mecklenburg County Health Department to sponsor more free dental clinics so the students can have follow-up appointments.