Free Dental Care for People in Need | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 8/11/2012
For some, it was their first time sitting in a dental chair in years.
"Dental costs are outrageous for self-employed people, you know, and for me to supply that kind of insurance," said patient Dean Olson.
First, patients were screened to assess their health history and to see if they needed X-rays. Some just needed a basic cleaning or a filling. Others weren`t so fortunate, and for health reasons, had to have a few teeth pulled.
"It`s more extractions because they didn`t have dental care for so long that a lot of the teeth are non-restorable anymore so to prevent the infection we just decide to pull the teeth," said Dr. Priscila Jelsing, who owns Jahraus Dental Clinic.
Jelsing and her husband purchased Jahraus Dental Clinic about a year ago. They say Mercer County is an underserved area in terms of dental care. The couple says the day of free dental care is a chance for them to give back.
"There`s this group of individuals making money but their bills are too high and they don`t have the ability to pay for dental care and so they`re bringing their kids in," said Michael Jelsing, CEO of Joy Dental Management Group.
Dentists say Saturday`s service does more than just encourage people to brush and floss more. Some patients who`ve stopped by the clinic may soon give up smoking.
"All the nicotine and all the chemicals that is in the cigarette, it just impairs the circulation of the body to some and give the blood supply your body needs," Dr. Priscila Jelsing said.
It`s the first year employees hold what they call their Carousel of Smiles event and they say it won`t be the last.
"Success is not driven off of what you can obtain. Success is really measured off of how well you can impact people. If you impact people the rest is gonna happen. Your life will be fulfilled and my wife and I believe that we need to impact people in the best way that we possibly can," Michael Jelsing said.
Jelsing says that includes helping those who otherwise can`t afford relief for an aching tooth.
The City of Hazen partnered with Jahraus Dental Clinic for the event. The city allowed dental providers to use city hall to hold screenings. On Saturday morning, community members also handed out school supplies and backpacks to those in need.