Bringing better smiles, dental care, free of charge at VSU - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Bringing better smiles, dental care, free of charge at VSU


For no charge whatsoever, people can walk out of VSU June 15 with a better, brighter smile. Saturday, 400 volunteers will gather to give people free dental check-ups at VSU's main campus. It's an event specifically made to help people without insurance.

Fifty dentists will clean teeth, take out bad ones, and fill in cavities. It's a mad rush for VCU dentistry students like Mary Catherine McGinn, beginning to set up the event at VSU's Daniel Gymnasium.

"It's free, there are great people providing the service, and we're here to help," McGinn said in an interview Friday. "It's an awesome opportunity, and we just want to see as many people as possible tomorrow."

The event is prepared to take care of 600 people. We asked, what's the best part of cleaning strangers' teeth, and McGinn said new, clean teeth, helped one of her patients to overcome a lifetime of tragedy.

"We said, 'oh, we're so happy you like [your teeth]' and she said, 'no you don't understand. I was abused, and every time I looked in the mirror, I was reminded of what he did, and you just took that away.'"

Dr. Terry Dickinson runs the show, and he tells us teeth, affect the rest of our health. Bad teeth make conditions like heart disease and diabetes even worse.

"It will make it more difficult for people to lower their blood sugar scores if they have some type of infection in their mouth," Dickinson said in an interview Friday.

Dickinson said ever since he started his Missions of Mercy project in 1999, patients have come from hundreds of miles for free care. The story of one woman who came to a dental screening at closing time stays with Dickinson.

"She said she'd driven for four hours, and she didn't have the money for the gas to come back tomorrow. From that point on, I knew we really needed to invest in this project."

Doors open at VSU Saturday, June 15 from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Daniel Gymnasium, 4th Ave, Ettrick, VA 23803. Mammography, blood glucose, hearing and vision screenings will also be offered.

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