Free dental care – no one is turned away

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Anyone can walk in and get the dental care they need, whether they are uninsured or under insured. No one is turned away.

It’s a busy Tuesday morning at the Goodwin College Dental Hygiene Clinic. It’s where students are getting real life experience and patients like Elizabeth Bonin are getting checked for cavities.

“I believe five [cavities],” said Elizabeth, “I wasn’t able to afford to go to a dentist. I was going though a rough period in my life.”

She can afford coming here because all the dental work is free.

“To help bridge the gap between oral health care and access to it. There’s a lot of clientele in this area who have a need for dental care,” said Instructor Natalie LaFreniere.

LaFreniere is also the clinical coordinator of this state of the art facility – from intra-oral cameras to sophisticated digital imaging system.

“We are using paperless system where all of our charting is strictly done through the computer,” said LaFreniere.

What is provided here is not lost on second year student Nicole Summa. “I’m one of these patients. I have never had dental insurance and would have loved someone to offer me these free services,” said Summa.

There’s more to the preventative care these patients are getting.

Nicole said, “Smoking cessations, we can touch on people that are smoking cigarettes to try to get them to quit, we do diet, we go over nutrition.”

What they can’t address here — is referred to a specialist with the patient’s ability to pay in mind.

“I’m on the state insurance,” said Elizabeth. “But being able to get it for free and to help out the students here is really a benefit for everybody.”

The clinic is open from September to May. The hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Saturday. On Tuesday and Thursday it closes at 9 p.m.

An appointment is needed – call 860-218-1800.

It’s located at 403 Main Street, East Hartford, CT

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