Free dental care totaling over $188,000 was provided for 185 uninsured and low-income New River Valley patients on Friday, Sept. 13. Thirty of the 185 patients received two treatments, either fillings or extractions, and what is commonly referred to as teeth cleaning.
The NRV Dental Study Club, facilitated by the Free Clinic of the NRV, Dental Aid Partners of the NRV, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and the NRV Health District provided free dental care for patients on the Free Clinic’s waiting list, some of whom had waited longer than three months to be seen by a dentist.
Twenty-six dentists, 26 dental assistants, 23 hygienists, and over 29 dental office assistants, and 16 lay volunteers located in 18 dental offices in Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski Counties and The City of Radford participated in this second service event. As eligible Free Clinic patients, all of the 185 patients were low-income and lacked dental insurance and therefore qualified for care.
The NRV Free Adult Dental Care Day slogan was “Smiles from the Heart” and the 94 volunteers delivered countless smiles that Friday. Dr. Rick Mansell, a retired dentist who is a regular volunteer at the Free Clinic and is a board member of the Dental Aid Partners of the NRV, said, “As I traveled to several of the dental offices treating patients on Care Day, what I heard from patients in every office was how grateful they were to be receiving this care.” In addition, he said, “Every single one of the dentists and their volunteer staff seemed to be visibly excited to be part of this service event to help their New River Valley neighbors.”
The previous evening, Thursday the 12th, Dr. Frank Serio, Professor and Dean of the proposed Bluefield College School of Dental Medicine, addressed the dental volunteers at a pep rally and told the assemblage that “what you will be doing on Care Day is to give your patients hope. Hope that someone cares.”