CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Thousands of people in need of dental care flooded the Convention Center for a free clinic last weekend. But many might not know there is another place offering help.
It costs very little and is open three days a week. If it looks just like a large dentist office, that's because it is, and for those who can't afford dental work or don't have insurance this is a great resource.
Michael Rainey didn't know the CPCC Dental Clinic existed until he went to the free dental clinic at the Convention Center and they referred him here for more work.
"It's been a blessing,” Rainey said. "I had a dental cleaning but what they said is that I needed an intensive dental cleaning because I hadn't been to a dentist in 28 years."
He's one of the thousands without dental insurance in need of care who benefit from CPCC’s Dental Hygiene program, where students get hands on experience and patients get care.
"The cost is very reasonable here. It's $20 and that includes the cleaning, x-rays, fluoride treatment—whatever is involved in that appointment,” said Judy Qualtieri, Chair of the CPCC Dental Program.
For some, it's a way to get needed x-rays to bring to their dentist for further treatments.
"The x-rays were an added cost to any procedure I might have, so the cost could conceivably, depending on my financial state at the time, be prohibitive to getting them done, " said Steve Kearney, who doesn’t have dental insurance and is in need of x-rays.
A staff dentist watches over all appointments and makes further referrals for patients.
"Every step is supervised. They have check offs for every step they take. It's probably the best cleaning they will get in their life because every step is checked off ," said program dentist Dr. Linda Polito.
You don't even have to make an appointment. You can walk in and get a screening if they have availability, and the cost even includes a follow up visit.
The clinic is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the fall semester and Monday through Friday in the spring. They don't do invasive procedures like root canals, but you can take your x-rays with you and they will refer patients for further needed treatment.
For more information you can go to www.cpcc.edu/health_sciences/dental-clinic