Alaska Mission Of Mercy Queue Into The Hundreds

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People started to gather in Anchorage in the early hours of Thursday morning, eagerly awaiting the opening of the Mission of Mercy free dental clinic. As the hours passed, more and more people arrived, many bearing blankets and folding chairs, and by midday there was a large crowd.

The fact that there were large numbers of people waiting out on the street outside the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center  almost 24 hours before the clinic opened in testament to the importance of the work carried out by charitable organisations, such as the Mission of Mercy.

The free clinic, which aims to treat around 2,000 people, will open for registration at 4.30am on the 11th April and volunteers will start treatment at 6am. Patients will be seen until 6pm and the clinic will also run all day on Saturday 12th April.

A range of treatments, including extractions, fillings, cleaning treatments and dental X-rays, will be on offer and the clinic is open to adults and children.

More than 240 dentists and hundreds of dental nurses and hygienists will be giving up their time to help patients who cannot afford to see a regular dentist.

Fifty-nine year old, Zhan Cai Hanna Lee, arrived early on Thursday to queue for the clinic and said that it is her only chance of getting dental treatment. She is missing her bottom front teeth and was unable to afford a crown following root canal treatment. She described the clinic as “a blessing” and her sentiments were shared by hundreds of others patiently waiting in line.

Julie Robinson and David Neilson, local dentists, were among a group of volunteers who helped to organise the event.

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