Hundreds receive free dental work at CCRI

CCRI Flanagan campus, Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Hundreds of Rhode Islanders came out for the Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic this weekend.

More than 800 patients were seen over the course of two days at a free dental clinic at the Community College of Rhode Island in Lincoln.

The Oral Hygiene Clinic on the Flanagan campus of CCRI in Lincoln was full for two straight days as volunteers offered free dental care to anyone who needed it.

"We consider that part of volunteerism and we take great pride in that kind of care," said volunteer dentist Dr. Mo Banki.

The clinic started at 6 a.m. Saturday and received thousands of dollars in donations from Delta Dental and private donors for equipment and supplies to ensure that all types of dental work could be performed.

"We're looking really to take care of urgent needs: infections, swelling, pain, by taking out teeth, doing fillings. We're hoping to keep people out of the emergency room," said Dr. Jeffrey Dodge, president of Rhode Island Oral Health Foundation.

This was the third year for the free clinic in Rhode Island and the idea was born when Dodge experienced something similar in Connecticut.

With the outpouring of support from the dental community, and the obvious need around the state, he said he sees no end in sight.

"Based on what we've seen the first three years, I think the need is here and we'll be around for quite some time," said Dodge.

"I think every year, we're improving on the logistics which is a great part of it and more people are volunteering, so we're hoping to do even better next year," Banki said.