5 On Your Side

300 tickets available for Saturday's free dental clinic

Posted August 12, 2011 11:26 a.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2011 6:19 p.m. EDT

— Three hundred tickets will be available for Saturday's free dental clinic at the RBC Center in Raleigh. 

Organizers started handing out the tickets at 6 p.m. Friday.

The North Carolina Dental Society is holding the event, which offers examinations, x-rays, cleanings, restorations and extractions for anyone over the age of 18 with an income of less than $27,225 per year.

Up to 120 volunteer dentists and dental hygienists are staffing 80 dental chairs until 5 p.m. Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Patients are being treated on a first-come, first-served basis, with patient registration starting at 6 a.m.

Even people who have tickets for Saturday need to be lined up by 4:30 a.m. 

All of Friday’s tickets had been distributed by 11 a.m., and organizers said they expect to treat 400 people by the end of the day.

Matt Craig, of Wendell, was among those who waited in line on Friday.

Craig, who is disabled and does not have insurance, says he lost 50 pounds in five years because his teeth hurt so much that he couldn't chew food. What little food he could eat, he got at the food bank. He said the clinic could change his life.

"It's amazing. I'm so happy," Craig said. "If I couldn't have come here, I'd be going on with pain for the rest of my life."

Inez Reid rode her scooter Friday to the RBC Center, where volunteers pulled one of her teeth. She's hoping to eventually have a full set of dentures.

"When you have your teeth and everything, it just brings the confidence out in you," Reid said.

Reuben Ewert was also among those getting dental work on Friday. He used to be a full-time evangelist but now serves as his wife's main caretaker after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Uninsured and living on Social Security, the couple would otherwise go without a trip to the dentist.

"We always poured all of our money into the ministry, so we found ourselves where we are tight financially," Ewert said.