Calif. free clinic provides dental care for more than 2K

The California Dental Association (CDA) sponsored a free, two-day dental clinic May 18-19 in San Jose, CA, that provided oral healthcare and education to more than 2,000 patients.

A line of people spent the night huddled under blankets that stretched around the block behind the city's convention center early May 18, according to a San Jose Mercury News story. They received root canals, fillings, and, for a lucky few, dentures.

The clinic featured 150 dental chairs and more than 1,700 volunteers, including 800 dentists, hygienists, and lab assistants. Some of the dentists offered discounted follow-ups at their offices.

Dental crews and volunteers worked from 5 a.m. to the early evening at the clinic, which cost about $500,000 to run, according to the Mercury News. Sponsors included Wells Fargo Advisors, Kaiser Permanente, El Camino Hospital, and Delta Dental. Santa Clara County donated $25,000, the Santa Clara Dental Society donated $10,000, and private donors, mostly people in the dental industry, donated another $180,000.

In 2009, the state Legislature cut almost all funding to adult Denti-Cal, the state's Medicaid dental program, leaving 3 million low-income adults uninsured. Funding for the California Children's Dental Disease Prevention Program, which provides preventive care in school, also was cut.

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