11/01/10 — Dental clinic coming Nov. 12

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Dental clinic coming Nov. 12

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 1, 2010 1:46 PM

For the fifth year, a free portable dental clinic will be coming to Goldsboro.

On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12-13, the clinic will be set up at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 901 Harris St., from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Local dentist Dr. Rick Stovall has spearheaded efforts to bring the clinic to the area after becoming familiar with the program that originated in Burlington.

Provided by the Mission of Mercy of North Carolina, the concept started in Alamance County in 1998 in conjunction with that county's Health Department. It expanded in 2004 when Mission of Mercy introduced free weekend dental clinics around the state. Its goal was to provide care to those with limited or no dental insurance.

Since being introduced in Wayne County in 2006, the program has offered such services as extractions, fillings and cleaning.

This year, Stovall said, an X-ray van donated to the N.C. Dental System will also be on site.

He said they will set up between 20 and 30 dental chairs at the church, on a first-come, first-served basis.

"No appointments," he said. "Come early that day to register, it's same-day registration."

On average in years past, Stovall said they have had good turnouts at the event, with approximately 300 to 350 seen each year during the two days' work.

"We have had to turn people away," he said. "That's the sad part. We have to get patients in and so forth, but we have to have a cutoff point."

Volunteers have helped the program run smoothly, Stovall said. His office staff has always been a big supporter of the effort, as have other area dentists and volunteers who turn out to assist with the administrative part.

"We have students from Wayne Community College that have come, UNC-Chapel Hill dental students," he added. "Most volunteers are local, but some come from as far away as Greensboro and Burlington to volunteer."

Stovall said he is very pleased to be able to bring the service to his hometown.

"It demonstrates the access to care issue that we have, to show people that can't have work done, that we do care about them, also," he said. "It's helping the community, giving back to the community and then the atmosphere that it creates, such a positive force, it's indescribable. ...

"Plus the community has embraced it. We have had so many people come in and help sponsor or help with donations, the city has helped. You can't really start to thank individual people or you'll leave people out. It's a community effort."