Hundreds gather for annual dental clinic at Greensboro Coliseum

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Hundreds of people are already gathered in Greensboro for the free dental clinic.

Last year, more than 900 people were given dental care by the North Carolina Dental Society Missions of Mercy.

Dr. Bill Blaylock said this year the committee was able to raise enough community funds to pay for the Coliseum pavilion to house the hundreds that will wait overnight in line.

"I saw some patients this afternoon that are probably going to need 15, 16 teeth taken out. They just have had to let them go because the money is just not there to get the dental treatment done, Blaylock said. "We've always seen the working poor, we've always seen the unemployed but now were seeing a segment in our population that had good jobs and had food dental benefits and now all of a suddenly they're jobless."

There are about 200 volunteers and 38 dentists that will help to provide dental care. Each patient will be screened and separated based on treatment; fillings, extractions and cleanings.

Dr. Paul Shelor has donated his time every year since the clinic began and said it's his way to give back to the community.

"They can walk in with missing teeth and then two days later they have a complete smile so it can change they're whole emotional outlook on life, Shelor said.

The clinic is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Dr. Blaylock said they are short dentists on Saturday and asking for any dentists available to donate their time.