SUFFOLK -- Hundreds showed up and turned the gym at Kings Fork Middle School into one big dental clinic today. The uninsured, underinsured, and unemployed were in urgent need of a dentist.
"Well, I got a wisdom tooth that's bothering me and I am glad to get it taken out. I am just tired of chewing on one side," said patient Kelvin Boone.
Four hundred fifty volunteers and some sixty dentists from the Virginia Dental Association support Missions of Mercy events, like this one.
"Yeah, we do dentures, we do extractions, we do fillings, we do cleanings. So almost the full gamut but most of the things that you can get done," said Dr. Ted Sherwin of the Virginia Dental Association.
There was a long line when the doors opened, and patients were anxious to express their gratitude.
"It's wonderful, it means a whole lot. [Otherwise] I would have to pay," said patient Irene Johnson.
Thanks to the Virginia Dental Association, there are now similar events to this in twenty-seven other states.
"It's a good thing 'cause it allows us to give back. It allows the dental students to come down from Richmond and get additional experience," said Dr. Preston Loving of the Virginia Dental Association.
"It's a big help because I don't have insurance and I need to have some work done very bad," said patient LaVonne Satterfield.
Hundreds received dental care today, but thousands have been serviced over the fifteen years of the program.
"Fifty-two thousand [people] over the last fifteen years with a value of over 32 million dollars in street value," concluded Dr. Andrew Zimmer of the Virginia Dental Association.