WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Cape Fear Community College hosts the North Carolina Missions of Mercy Dental Clinic tomorrow and Saturday. The two-day event at the Schwartz Center provides hundreds of economically disadvantaged people essential dental services.
"We literally see people coming in with tears of pain in the front door, and after they get through triage and x-ray, they leave with tears of happiness, because we've gotten them out of pain, sometimes for the first time in months," Missions of Mercy Program Director Bill Blaylock said.
Dental services at the clinic include fillings, extractions, cleanings and a limited number of front-tooth partial dentures. Everything is 100 percent free.
"Definitely it helps out everybody that can't afford dental care if they don't have insurance, or the way the economy is, nobody can really afford to go get dental work. It's very expensive," volunteer dental assistant Marissa Lyman said.
About 650 people showed up to last year's event, and organizers had to turn away nearly 200 patients. This year they expect similar numbers.
"So if you come on out, be patient, get here early," Blaylock said. "Doors open at 6 a.m., but people will be getting in line around midnight. So if you need some dental work done and can't afford it, please come and get in line, be patient, and we're going to see as many patients as we can."
By 6 p.m., several people had already started lining up outside the Schwartz Center.
The clinic runs tomorrow from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Qualified patients should have a family income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty index.