UPDATE: Patient line closed for free dental clinic in CR - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Patient line closed for free dental clinic in CR

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- An overwhelming response to a free dental clinic in Cedar Rapids has caused organizers to close the patient line for the day.

The Iowa Mission of Mercy, says there were more than 800 people from across the state in line for the free clinic when it opened this morning at 7 am. 

Organizers estimate close to 1,000 people will be treated Friday. They say the line may begin forming for Saturday when the clinic closes at 5 pm on Friday.

A recent report from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows access to dental care as one of the top health issues for Iowans during the next ten years.

Friday and Saturday people in Eastern Iowa can get free dental care.

Iowa Mission of Mercy or "IMOM" is in its third year of offering the free dental clinic.

This year it's at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

The clinic is on a first come, first serve basis and Dale Jordan from Marion is already in line. Jordan said his insurance doesn't cover all the dental work he needs done.

"I thought I better come in here and take advantage of this opportunity to get work done on my teeth," said Jordan.

Organizers expect to provide dental work to at least one thousand people during the two-day clinic.

The first free clinic in Waterloo in 2008. Last year's clinic was in Newton.

About 200 dentists and 1000 other volunteers are giving up their time to be at the free dental clinic.

Tom Grimes has been a dentist in Cedar Rapids for 25 years. He volunteered at the two other IMOM clinics.

He and others will be available for general dentistry, cleaning, pediatric dentistry and oral surgery.

"What we can't do are dentures, crowns and bridges, but we will have a dental lab here so if someone needs a repair we can do that," said Grimes.

Grimes said too many Iowans lack access to dental care but this free clinic helps.

"I think there is an increased need for service. We could really do this year round. There's a lot of people who can't afford dental care," said Tom Grimes.

Dale Jordan said he's grateful for this free clinic. For him, the dental care is more about his six-year-old son.

"He's always happy, and I'd like to be able to smile back at him," said Jordan.

The clinic is Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you decide to line up early, you won't have to be outside. Everyone is lining up in the skywalk.

Free childcare is also available and you can park for free in the ramp attached to the U.S. Cellular Center.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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