9th annual free dental clinic to be held Friday, Saturday at XL Center

Dentists and hygienists perform work on patients at the free Mission of Mercy dental clinic held at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., Friday, April 25, 2014. More than 2,200 people were expected to receive treatment during the two-day event. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)
Dentists and hygienists perform work on patients at the free Mission of Mercy dental clinic held at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., Friday, April 25, 2014. More than 2,200 people were expected to receive treatment during the two-day event. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday, dentists are turning the XL Center in Hartford into a high-tech, state-wide, dental clinic with 120 chairs and all the latest technology that goes with them.

Dr. Larry Levy is one of the volunteer dentists for Mission of Mercy, who is hosting the clinic.

“We are looking to treat about 2,200 patients, that is our normal goal it will be over eight today. We have 1,500 volunteers that are ready to treat these people,” said Levy.

The majority of people who come to the clinic are not homeless, but hard-working families with two jobs, trying to support their children, and not enough money for dental insurance, so their care slips through the cracks. George Sharrow took the bus in a day early to make sure he was first through the door and plans to sleep out overnight.

“I lost everything, and then I wasn’t quite 62 so I spent down my pension and I only live off of Social Security now, so I am very well blessed with a lot of things, and one of those things is right here. $2,500 one dentist told me I don’t have it, I went bankrupt in 2008. And they fixed me up here, it was a great dentist here who did a wonderful job,” said Sharrow.

Dr. Bruce Tandy is one of the dentists leading the clinic for Mission of Mercy, he says it is not uncommon to see repeat patients.

“We do have about 2 to 300 patients that show up and see us every year whenever we run this clinic, and every year is more than a lot of other people go to the dentist regularly. So this is their dental home,” said Tandy.

Connecticut Mission of Mercy has been holding clinics across the state for the last nine years, and this year they are emphasizing veteran care. They even have flags out at the different chairs to honor those who have served our country so they can give back to them. However, Dr. Bob Schreibman says you don’t have to be a veteran or even from the State of Connecticut to get care here in this clinic.

“We don’t check anybody’s license or check for insurance or check where you came from, if you need to have your teeth taken care of, you come here,” said Schreibman.

Patients may park for free at the Morgan Street Garage, 155 Morgan Street. The entrances to the garage are located on Columbus Blvd. and Talcott Street. Patients must bring their parking ticket with them to the clinic to be validated at the Patient Registration or will be responsible for paying for parking.

The clinic opens its doors Friday and Saturday at 6 a.m. No one will be turned away.

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