Overwhelming response at dental clinic - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Overwhelming response at dental clinic

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- There was an overwhelming response Friday at the Mission of Mercy free dental clinic in Cedar Rapids.

More than 800 people were in line before the doors opened at 7:00 in the morning at the U.S. Cellular Center. Just two hours later the line was cut off and the doors were closed for the day.

Deb Miersen came with her daughter and grandchildren to get their teeth checked. They came because the children don't have any insurance.

"This was like pennies from heaven for us today. The school system are asking for dental checks be done and it's hard enough trying to keep them in school and everything the schools are needing so today it was pennies from heaven," said Miersen.

"The procedure we can provide here today are extractions, fillings, cleanings, some dental care which includes root canals. There are a few people who can get simple partials made to replace the teeth that are being removed," said Mission of Mercy Chair, Dr. Richard Hettinger.

At the time they opened the door this morning there were already 800 people standing in line waiting to be cared for. They expect 1000 people here today and 1000 more tomorrow.

There is no cost and you don't need to pre-register, but it is first come first serve.

For those volunteering their time like Representative Mary Mascher of Iowa City, the hard work is well worth it.

"Even though someone's had teeth pulled or cavities filled or maybe they're still numb from anesthetic or whatever they're dealing with like Novocain, they're still a smile there in terms of appreciating the fact they were able to get the care they need," said Mascher.

"One dentist can do a little bit but if you get 200 together and you get 700 of their best friends to come over and help, you can do a tremendous amount of work in a short amount of time," said Dr. Hettinger.

The clinic will be open again Saturday from 7:00 in the morning until 5:00 at night.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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