NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — One Connecticut organization will be offering a free way for New Haven residents to improve oral health on Friday and Saturday.
The Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven was transformed into a free, two-day dental clinic with the Connecticut Mission of Mercy, which is now in its 16th year.
“Some people haven’t seen a dentist in years, some people have had trauma,” said Dr. John Conroy with the Connecticut Mission of Mercy. “We hear their stories and we empathize and we provide a service to them in a kind, caring, loving way.”
Over the next two days, 1,400 people are expected to come to get a dental checkup. Clinic organizers said that there are 80 dental stations available to meet patient needs.
“This is where we listen to the patients and say, ‘What are your needs, how can we serve you?'” said a Connecticut Mission of Mercy worker. “Some people say they want this tooth extracted because it snapped off because I was in a car accident, some say I want a cleaning.”
One New Haven resident said he came because of the cost associated with having just two teeth replaced.
“2,000 minimum and that’s just the upper part,” said patient Terrence Norman. “People looking for upper and lower you’re looking at probably five to seven thousand.”
Doctors at the clinic said that this service isn’t just for oral hygiene, but rather for your overall health.
”Oral health from infections of the mouth, especially gum infections that can get into your bloodstream and can be associated with other conditions,” said Dr. Michael Ungerleider with Connecticut Mission of Mercy.
Other conditions such as heart disease, low birthweight babies and a pre-disposition for diabetes are all possible without good dental care, doctors said.
The clinic has over 800 doctors present, including translators, which many patients and workers value.
”It’s a genius idea because this is a way to express herself and obviously speak up and say what stuff is going on,” said Angel Mora, a Connecticut Mission of Mercy volunteer.
Clinic organizers said that patients will be able to speak out about their conditions, no questions asked, on both Friday and Saturday.