Thousands get free dental care at N. Charleston Convention Center

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - There was a packed house at the North Charleston Convention Center, not for a meeting, or a show, but for a huge temporary dental clinic.

Thousands took advantage of free teeth cleanings, extractions and fillings from a group of dedicated volunteers.

While many people were sound asleep at home, some were waiting in line.

"I was number 97. I left home at two thirty this morning," said Rosa Kelly.

They came from all over Charleston and beyond.

"I picked up a group in Orangeburg, South Carolina," said pastor Tyrone Davis," They rode the bus and I brought them here for registration."

Mobs of people crowded into the convention center for their chance to be called to the dentist chair. Members of the South Carolina Dental Association had 80 open chairs, and saw about a thousand people Friday. They aim to see a thousand more Saturday.

It took a lot of work and a lot of dental professionals, who volunteered their time and their talents.

"You are looking at 300 to 400 people at any one time on the floor here making this work," said Geoff Steinkruger, project chair for the two day clinic.

The clinic was free, but the services provided added up.

"Probably between three quarter of a million and a million dollars of dental care," said Steinkruger.

The work the dental providers went well beyond your basic cleaning, in some cases it was considered critical. With the rising cost of health care the free clinic was a golden opportunity.

"There is a lot of people without dental insurance that are in dire need of some kind of dental need," said dental assistant, Cindy Burchfield.

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