How you can help ease the toothaches of low-income adults

Organizers of the free dental clinic expect 1,000 patients at the Charlotte Convention Center Dec. 2-3.
Organizers of the free dental clinic expect 1,000 patients at the Charlotte Convention Center Dec. 2-3.

N.C. Missions of Mercy is looking for volunteers to help with a massive free dental clinic for the poor on Dec. 2-3 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

The Charlotte clinic aims to treat more than 1,000 adults, many of whom are in pain due to dental conditions they don’t have the money to get treated.

Organizers are seeking help from hundreds of average people to register and escort the patients. Hundreds more dental and medical professionals are also needed to help operate nearly 100 dental chairs, which will stay full for 12 hours each of the two days.

To register or find information, please go to www.ncmom-charlotte.com.

“This will be our fourth time in Charlotte, and our success is entirely due to the generosity of people who give their time and financial support to help people in pain and in need,” said event co-chair Evan Miller in a statement. “It’s important for folks to sign up now so we know we can make the most of every clinic hour.”

The clinic needs 900 dental professionals – dentists, assistants, hygienists, lab technicians – to work in shifts, and they will receive continuing education credits for participating. Another 200 medical professionals are needed to perform health screenings and other tasks.

At least 600 community volunteers are also needed to escort patients, provide translation, set up and break down equipment and assist with other tasks throughout the marathon clinic. Translators who speak Spanish are especially needed.

Three primary sponsors have stepped up to help cover the estimated $175,000 cost of the event: The Leon Levine Foundation, the Foundation for the Carolinas and the Carolinas Healthcare Foundation.

However, the clinic still needs donations as well as volunteers.

Patients must be 18 or older and can have teeth cleaned, cavities filled, teeth extracted, root canals and other problems addressed. A limited number of partial dentures will also be provided. Clinic doors open at 4:30 a.m., Dec. 2, at the Brevard/Stonewall streets entrance to the Charlotte Convention Center.

The Missions of Mercy event is part of the North Carolina Dental Society’s outreach program but is entirely funded and organized locally by volunteers. The Charlotte clinics are the largest and most comprehensive held in North Carolina, performing dental work valued at $3.5 million for nearly 6,000 patients.