PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Dentists filled the floor of PPG Paints Arena for a free pop-up dental clinic.
Root canals, teeth cleanings, and wisdom teeth removal are all free of charge.
Supplies, including gauze, needles, eye glasses for the treatments and even sterile water were donated for the clinic.
They hope to help at least 1,000 people today and Saturday.
“Private dentistry is really expensive, time-consuming and a lot of people just can’t find dentists that participate in their insurance plans,” UPMC Health Plan Dental Director Richard Celko said.
That’s why dentists like Celko gave that care to hundreds. Eighty patients filled the chairs at a time Friday afternoon.
“We’re seeing everything from impacted wisdom teeth, to really abscessed teeth, some very mobile, loose teeth that people are having sensitivity and problems with and a lot of decayed teeth, a lot of teeth that need to come out,” he said.
“I’m getting three.. well, two wisdom teeth and my back tooth extracted,” Paige Staudt said.
Staudt heard about Mission of Mercy’s free dental clinic on Facebook at a time when she could afford to save some cash.
“I don’t have dental insurance so I just actually had an appointment set up for two weeks to get the same thing done for $1,200, and I’m moving to another state, so I could use that $1,200 to move,” Staudt said.
So, she was getting them removed for free with the help of doctors, nurses and more than 1,000 volunteers.
“I just know the need exists, and it’s in our own backyard, and I want to be part of trying to correct that,” said Celko.
It’s first come, first serve and they’ll fix fillings, perform extractions and cleanings for adults and kids 2 years or older. For more information, visit Mission of Mercy’s website.
Doors open again Saturday at 6 a.m., and close at 4 p.m.