Free dental clinic offered in Winston-Salem today and Saturday

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Free dental work started this morning at 6 a.m. on a first come, first serve basis.

By 6:45 a.m., the clinic had to stop registering people after signing up 840 people.

The last 240 people to register were told to come back at 5 a.m. Saturday.

The clinic, run by the North Carolina Mission of Mercy and the North Carolina Dental Society, will last through Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds in the Education Building.

"We want to treat as many patients as possible with their most urgent need first," said local dentist, Tony Porter. "Our goal is to treat patients who can't go to a regular office due to financial reasons."

Around 400 dentist and 500 volunteers are expected to serve about 1,000 patients over the course of the two-day event.

"It's terrible to have a tooth aches and not be able to go to the dentist and do anything about it," Tamara Wallace said. Wallace drove from Raleigh and spent the night inside waiting for her turn.

"This is a blessing ... it really is. That's why I'm willing to stay over night."

X-rays, teeth cleanings and cap work will be done, but no major oral surgeries are scheduled.