The S.C. Dental Association, a trade group of dentists across the state, his hosting its fifth statewide Dental Access Days. Over an 18-hour period August 8 and 9, dentists, dental hygenists, surgeons and X-ray technicans will see more than two thousand patients, all for free.
Locally, Drs. Bill Cranford and Paul Coombs are leading the effort in Rock Hill. Hundreds of volunteers from the association will bring their services to York County for the free dental days, in total providing over $1 million in care.
“In the five DADs events that I’ve seen so far, you see lines of hundreds of people in line like they’re waiting to get into a sporting event,” Coombs said. “In fact, they’re waiting to get something done to their teeth.
Previous DADs have been held in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville in major arenas and convention centers. York County, however, has no such facility.
“We looked at schools, the Winthrop Coliseum, the Baxter Hood Center. Nothing was really big enough,” said Dale Dove, a Rock Hill attorney and founder of the Renew Our Community Center, a non-profit job training and placement system. Dove is in charge of recuriting 500 local volunteers for the effort who will serve in non medical capacities.
Organizers selected the site of First Baptist Church in Rock Hill. The DADs will utilize the church’s gymnasium, classroom spaces and Worship Center.
Patients will be triaged in groups of 50 people at a time, have X-rays of their mouth and have their blood pressure taken. Treatments will be conducted in 80 dental chairs spread out across the Worship Center floor.
“There are plenty of people who travel to Haiti, to South America, to Mexico for mission trips, Coombs said. “This is an opportunity here — for a day and a half — for a mission of our own.”
WANT TO HELP?
Visit the S.C. Dental Assocation’s volunteer page at www.scda.org