More than 100 million Americans don't go to the dentist simply because they cannot afford it.
Hundreds of Quad Citians took advantage of the Iowa Mission of Mercy at the RiverCenter in Davenport on October 5th and 6th, 2012. The two-day free dental clinic is open to everyone and anyone. On Friday, October 5th, the clinic was 606 patients, equaling more than $450,000 of dental work. By 9:30am on Saturday, October 6th, another 200 patients had checked into the clinic.
We talked to one patient who told us just how important this clinic is to her.
"I had about three or fillings and about six fillings today, approximate, I’m just guessing and then a root canal,” says Westthal.
Rhonda Westthal is just one out of the hundreds of people that took advantage of Iowa Mission of Mercy’s free dental clinic. She is from Primghar, Iowa. It’s a six hour drive to Davenport. She arrived here on Friday, woke up early and stood in line at 6:30 Saturday morning. By 8:30 she was finally in a chair, but she says it’s worth the wait.
"I have no dental insurance; I live on disability, less than 800 dollars a month. This is a God sent for people like me,” says Westthal.
From 8:30 to about three this afternoon, dentists worked on some cavities and a root canal. Even after all of that, she still wasn’t done. She had to get x-rays and then get the rest of her fillings filled.
"I'm anxious to get home,” says Westthal.
This isn’t the first time she’s used this program, she also went last year.
"Everyone is very friendly, helpful, especially all of the volunteers are very good,” says Westthal.
She says without a program like this she doesn’t know what she would do.
"I would probably lose my teeth, they would probably have to be pulled,” says Westthal.
Next year the clinic will take place in Des Moines and Rhonda says she will definitely be there.
"I need to have cleanings probably, more fillings again, it's an ongoing thing with our teeth you know."
They had more than 13 hundred patients today and provided more than eight hundred fifty thousand dollars of free dental work.