Free Clinic Provides Dental Services for People in Need

By: Morgan Demmel Email
By: Morgan Demmel Email

Click HERE for information on the Third City Community Clinic and other outreach programs the clinic provides.

For people without insurance, receiving dental treatment can be nearly impossible. But a group of volunteers is offering those services to people in Grand Island for free.

The Third City Community Clinic in Grand Island is teaming up with University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry students and faculty as well as local dentists to provide services to 70 people in need.

Third City Community Clinic Executive Director Susan Aguilar says most of the people haven't received any recent dental care.

"If they're working, and have no insurance and have a family to take care of, the money just doesn't stretch that far," Aguilar says.

"If you can't afford it, you just don't go. If you have no way to pay for it, you don't go," patient Sarah Anson says.

And going years without regular check-ups can lead to infection.

"It can be very dangerous, the infection spreads and especially with patients who are diabetic or have other health concerns, this can be devastating," says UNMC Doctor of Dental Surgery Kim McFarland.

Anson has a broken tooth that needs to be extracted-- a procedure that can be very costly.

"I don't have the means to pay for it right now so this really helps a lot," Anson says.

It's the third year UNMC students and staff have helped out in Grand Island-- and Executive Associate Dean Dr. David Brown says the students are eager to help.

"They're interested in oral surgery, so this gives them an opportunity to do an awful lot of oral surgery in a short period of time. They get a lot of experiences," Brown says.

Dr. David Lofgreen provides the facility and equipment for the day-long clinic in his office, Island View Dental Clinic. He's hosted the free event the past three years.

He says the response from the patients is overwhelming.

"They're very, very grateful, to have this help in keeping them out of pain," Lofgreen says.

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