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Springfield will offer free dental services to adults in need in honor of Free Dentistry Day on Saturday, September 14. KSMU’s Julie Greene has more.
Poverty is a rising problem that affects millions of people across the United States. From 2010 to 2011, the percentage of Missourians in poverty jumped from 15.3% to 15.8%, according to to a study published by the U.S. Census Bureau.
For many of these Missourians, living in poverty means facing serious challenges in meeting their basic needs. Dr. Kevin Pierce of Marshfield Family Dental Care describes their struggle best when he says:
“With things the way they are with economic times, with the cost of everything, some people just can’t afford to take care of their teeth. When it’s either eat, buy a tank of gas, or get your tooth pulled, you got to do what you got to do,” Dr. Pierce said.
This need for action is the reason that Free Dentistry Day was started. Every year, dentists around the country take part in this one-day event that offers free dental care to those in need. Last year alone, over 2,500 Americans were treated across the country, totaling over $1 million in free dental services.
For the past three years, Dr. Pierce has been involved with Free Dentistry Day.
“I’ve had a lot of people that were in pain, and they came in, and this was their only option. Some of them will line up hours before to make sure they get seen. On these particular days, these are people who really appreciate what we can do for their well-being and their health because nobody is taking care of them,” he said.
In Springfield, this year’s event will take place at Distinctive Dental Solutions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Participants must be at least 18 years old and will be able to choose from a free cleaning, filling or extraction.
For more information, call Distinctive Dental Solutions at 417-889-0700 or visit www.freedentistryday.org.
For KSMU News, I’m Julie Greene.