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Free dental clinic runs Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

By Matthew Casey
Published: Friday, December 10, 2021 - 12:43pm
Updated: Friday, December 10, 2021 - 1:28pm

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The need for dental work to relieve pain and infection draws thousands to a free clinic set up in Phoenix every year.

Organizers of the two-day event say people were waiting before dawn Friday morning at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Around 1,500 volunteers organized by the Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation are on an annual mission of mercy. These dentists, hygienists and other medical staff provide millions of dollars in free care inside a sprawling pop-up clinic.

Dr. Jacqueline Allen said they worked quickly to help patients who lined up early.

person getting dental work
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
The Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation is hosting its Dental Mission of Mercy event in Phoenix in 2019.

“[We] certainly encourage people to come down and if they have a tooth that needs to be pulled, or if they have a dental concern, then come on down and we should be able to see them,” she said.

Organizers of the free clinic say they see the most need for dental work among vulnerable populations such as the elderly, veterans and children.

“We have general dentists doing fillings. We have endodontists doing root canals. Anybody that gets a root canal on their tooth, we can make them a crown,” said Allen.

The clinic is open until 6 p.m. Friday, and it’s scheduled to run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. People seeking dental care should line up on the west side of Veterans Memorial Coliseum.