10/11/17 — Dentist finds indigent care rewarding

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Dentist finds indigent care rewarding

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 11, 2017 5:50 AM

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Dr. P. Alston Daniel, a Goldsboro dentist, and his daughter, Emily Daniel, have been volunteering at free dental clinics for the indigent around the state for three years.

A Goldsboro dentist will be among those participating in a free adult dental clinic in New Bern later this month.

Dr. P. Alston Daniel has enjoyed practicing in this community since 1988, but says the outreach opportunity through N.C. Missions of Mercy has also been rewarding.

The event, which is part of the American Dental Association, is for indigent or uninsured residents, he explained.

The one planned for Oct. 27-28 will be held at Epiphany School of Global Studies on Trent Road in New Bern. Doors open at 6 a.m. both Friday and Saturday, with patients seen on a first come, first served basis.

"There are no appointments and the line starts forming at midnight," Daniel said. "I think they have over 80 chairs available and a pool of dentists and dental assistants to cover it.

"They're expecting a big crowd."

Services include teeth cleanings, fillings, extractions and partial dentures.

N.C. Missions of Mercy usually offers the free clinics several times a year, and typically in larger cities. Daniel said he has taken part in seven or eight over the years.

"It's just a way I can give back to the community," he said. "My daughter worked with me. She's trying to get into dental school and I want her to see that side of dentistry."

He and his 22-year-old daughter, Emily Daniel, go as a team, he said. This will be their third year working volunteering together.

Providing care for those unable to afford it or lacking insurance is important, and Daniel said he has been amazed at the response in the communities he has visited.

"When we did it in Salisbury, they saw and fed over 1,000 people," he said. "The line was out the door."

The dentist said he has enjoyed being part of the outreach effort.

"It's very fulfilling to see," he said. "I had a patient, I'm pretty sure she was probably a meth addict. She said she hadn't smiled in years."

In that case, they worked on fillings across the front of her mouth and it made a big difference, he said, recalling the "joy of seeing her smile."

"The people (at this event) are so appreciative," he said. "It gives you a warm feeling because you help them. They're appreciative, they thank you.

"I get more out of it than they do."