Thousands Expected At Free Dental Clinic In Charlotte


CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - More than 1,000 volunteers were at the Charlotte Convention Center Thursday, assembling chairs and organizing tables.

They were working to build the largest free dental clinic in the state of North Carolina.

"We call it a whirlwind of yes, everything we've asked for, we've gotten," said Evan Miller, the co-chair of the North Carolina Missions of Mercy and an endodontist in Charlotte.

In just two days, almost 400 dentists, 400 assistants, more than 200 hygienists and 20 oral surgeons will see 2,500 people. The clinic is providing services to people 18 years and older, and no proof of income is required.

"I would (say the need is great)," Miller said. "This economy is a brutal thing."

Miller said children will not be seen. He said it's the adults who often fall through the cracks of the health care system.

"There's no solution, but it is a solution for some," Miller said. "We can't serve them all, but the people who get in, it will be better off for them."

Arey Grady with the North Carolina Dental Lab Association and his team of 17 lab techs will make hundreds of partial dentures this weekend.

"(We see) tears, joy -- it's unreal to see them," Grady said.

What's even more unreal, Miller said, are the sponsors, businesses and companies -- both local and nationwide -- that helped make the event possible.

The event kicks off at 6 a.m. Friday and runs through Saturday at the Charlotte Convention Center. Participants are advised to arrive as early as possible.

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