Free Dental Clinic Serves Dual Purpose

By: Michel Mason Email
By: Michel Mason Email

An Eastern Kentucky mission is not only providing free dental care to hundreds of people, but volunteers and patients are leaving with much more.

The volunteers here travelled from as far as Michigan, Minnesota and Florida to be a part of this three-day free dental clinic. Both the volunteers and the patients say it's about much more than a healthy smile.

Right now, the gym at Youth Haven Bible Camp is a full-scale dental office. The combined effort by Kentucky Mountain Mission, the camp and other churches serves a dual role - both dental and spiritual.

"It's just nice to be able to serve others and to just use our gifts that god has given us to just to serve other people," said Dental Hygienist Sherry Stevens.

"They got a good heart. I really thank them for coming and doing this work for free to help people," said Tyler Charles of Lee County.

Patients say the generosity here is life changing. Some are happy to leave their old smiles behind.

"It's embarrassing. Then you feel bad, you don't want to smile and it can make a difference when you get those gone. You just feel better yourself," said Stephanie Shuler of Lee County.

Dr. Ryan Brunworth says it's also about treating a dental condition before it affects overall health.

"We're trying to help people out with that too, because if you let an infection go it can turn into serious systemic problems," said Dr. Brunworth.

The mission is now raising money to build a permanent dental clinic at the camp.

The clinic does continue here tomorrow at the Youth Haven Bible Camp, but organizers say those spots are already filled. Once it's all said and done they hope to have served more than 200 people.

They are already planning another clinic for October.

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