The Rhode Island Oral Health Foundation staged its second annual free dental clinic over the weekend at the Community College of Rhode Island in Lincoln. About 900 people without dental health insurance got the help they needed.
The line for the free dental clinic started forming at eight o’clock Friday morning – a full 22 hours before it opened. Dr. Jeffrey Dodge, president of the Rhode Island Oral Health Foundation, said the first person in line was a young man who needed four front teeth replaced.
"I think it remarkably changed his life. It’s very difficult to go without front teeth. And we do feel that everyone has a right to look normal."
Raquel O’Neill of Providence left with a new partial denture for her front teeth.
"I’m so happy because now I can smile. Before I don’t smile. Now I can smile. I feel so happy."
Organizers estimate that over the weekend 90 volunteer dentists treated some 900 patients for everything from cavities to extractions to dentures to ordinary cleanings. Most of the clients were the working poor.