Over 1,900 patients receive free care at weekend dental clinic

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People from all over Florida took advantage of free dental treatments over the weekend.

“Our goal is to try to save people’s smiles as much as we can,” said Dr. Zach Kalarickal with the Florida Dental Association.

Lee County residents were offered free dental checkups thanks to the Florida Dental Association’s Mission of Mercy event Friday and Saturday.

From simple teeth cleanings to intense root canals, thousands of people received care at the Lee County Civic Center. It was the fourth year the event was held, and it reached maximum capacity by Saturday morning.

The value of care completed was over $1.7 million, and over 1,900 patients were able to be seen by a dentist.

The procedures were beneficial for both patients and volunteers.

“They’ve brightened our lives honestly, I think more than we could’ve for them,” said dentist Tom Brown.

For active duty military members like Christian Duran, it was a time for him to hone in on his dental assistant skills.

“I’ve never worked in an area where there’s so many dentists, hygienists, dental assistants. This is pretty overwhelming but it’s awesome though,” Duran said.

Normally, Duran is serving at his naval base in Georgia, but over the weekend, he was on a mission to brighten people’s smiles.

“To me, it’s really fun to know that I’m helping them out, especially when you see a patient come in and they end up leaving with a big smile on their face. Helping them get out of pain,” he said.

Next year, they plan to bring Mission of Mercy to Orlando.

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