50 low-income adults find relief at Free Dentistry Day
Alberson Azor, a Palm Beach State College student pursuing an A.A. degree, is very glad that he opened a particular email waiting in his College inbox. It was a notice about Free Dentistry Day at the Lake Worth campus.
“It was like a blessing,” said Azor, who was one of 50 low-income adults who got relief at today’s event. “I woke up early, saw the email and definitely had to come here. I had gone to a dentist, and they were asking a thousand dollars for a cap. I was just going to wait for a while, and then the I saw the email!”
The fourth annual Free Dentistry Day involved 11 dentists affiliated with Atlantic Coast Dental Research Clinic, aided by Palm Beach State’s Dental Health students. The dentists performed 46 fillings (one was Azor’s) and 39 extractions. They were assisted by 18 PBSC Dental Assisting students and six PBSC Dental Hygiene students, who did the initial patient intake.
Doors opened at 6 a.m. and treatment began at 8 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Many patients were motivated by pain to arrive early, according to Colleen Bradshaw, associate professor and chair of PBSC’s Dental Assisting program and coordinator of the event.
“We had 15 patients at 5:30 a.m., but there was one patient—patient number one—who had been here since midnight,” Bradshaw said. “She had a toothache and needed an extraction, so she slept in her car. It’s heartbreaking, but it proves that we’re doing good.”
Dr. Carlos Boudet, a board member of ACDRC, recruited the volunteer dentists. “We’re just very happy to have many dentists who feel it’s necessary to do this for the community. I’m just delighted to see how many dentists have responded.”
One grateful patient was so thrilled with her fillings that she wished she could have paid. “It’s way too expensive to do this the normal way, especially without insurance, ” said Lindsey Fisher. “It just gets more and more expensive each year. I really appreciate this place. I want to cry…thank you so much.”
Equally thankful, Azor gained something else from the treatment. While he plans to go into business, his experience as a patient—interacting with the dentist and dental assisting student Natalie Diaz—sparked the idea of enrolling in the Dental Assisting program. “I need an income stream, so I’m thinking I might do what Natalie’s doing. It was interesting being a patient, and Natalie was awesome.”
Visit the Flickr album to see more photos of Free Dentistry Day 2018.