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Dentists and Volunteers Offer Free Dental Care to All of Oklahoma

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LAWTON Okla_ People from all over the state flooded Lawton's Great Plains Coliseum today. It was the first day of Oklahoma's mission of mercy, a program that provides free dental care.

 1,900 volunteers, including dental professionals, are using more than 130 chairs to care for everyone and anyone, regardless of age or ability to pay. Over 1,000 patients filed through the coliseum to get their free dental care Friday, but most of the people who waited all day said the services are well worth the wait.

It took nearly 10 hours for Jeannette Felan of Altus to reach a dental chair.

"We just sat around and talked and joked all night to strangers, pretty much,” Felan said. “It was fun!"

Spending her time proved to be more entertaining and less costly than spending her money.

"I went to every dentist in Altus,” Felan said. “You know, $1,500 to $1,800 is kind of hard to come up with when you have three kids.”

That price had been keeping her from getting the root canal and filling she's needed for 6 months. Luckily for her, people like Dr. Phoebe Brown decided to come to Lawton and put their talents to good use.

"I feel like we have a gift to give to other people,” Brown said, “And not many people can give that."

Dr. Brown is a dentist in Edmond and a teacher at the OU Dental School. She was one of the professionals put in charge of fillings.

"I have seen a lot of cases where there was a lot of cavity and we treated that,” Brown said. “Some of them were cases where we made them look better, and others were to just give them more function back."

When our 7News team arrived, Jeannette Felan had already gotten the root canal and was just being seated for her filling. She said she was delighted to put the health of her teeth in Dr. Brown's capable hands.

"I'm pretty happy,” Felan said. “I am not crying because I am sad. I am crying because I am happy, and I appreciate it. It makes you feel good that people still care and are willing to do things like this for people like me, who can't afford stuff like that."

Dr. Brown said she was so excited to be a part of Mission of Mercy, she couldn't sleep last night. She said stories like Jeanette's leave her feeling energized at the end of two very long days. The Oklahoma Mission of Mercy plans on seeing 1,000 more patients Saturday. The line will re-open again Friday night at 8:00, but they won't start treating patients again until 5:00 AM Saturday.

 

People began lining up for Mission of Mercy's Free dental clinic
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