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Massive, Free Dental Clinic Kicks Off in Bemidji Friday Morning - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Massive, Free Dental Clinic Kicks Off in Bemidji Friday Morning

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  It will be the largest, free, medical clinic ever held in our region.

  The Mission of Mercy dental clinic kicks off its two-day event in Bemidji at 5:30 Friday morning at the Sanford Center. By the time the doors open at 5:30 Friday morning, the arena floor will have been transformed into a massive dental clinic, with 1,000 volunteers, ready to help as many as 2,000 dental patients.

Alejanbro Aguirre / MISSION OF MERCY: "Everyone is welcome. There's not questions asked. There's no I.D.'s asked or anything. It doesn't matter if you have no insurance. All the treatment is for free."

  Tons of donated equipment is being hauled in to support 100 dental chairs. Three-hundred dentists from Minnesota and surrounding states are volunteering their time, along with dental technicians and scores of other people to help handle the crowd.

Dr. Doug Williams / BEMIDJI DENTIST: "So we can bring policy makers and the dental community and the people of Minnesota to the table and discuss viable solutions to preventing this. We don't view this as a solution. We view this as more of a band-aide. But it does help us draw attention to an unmet need that exists."

  And organizers say the benefits of increased dental care will quickly be demonstrated at hospital emergency rooms in the area.

Dr. Mark Humenik / MN DENTAL FOUNDATION: "We're going to see a drop in emergency room visits in the area in the next 3, 4-months."

Reporter: "Usually because of infections and pain?"

Dr. Humenik: "Yes, and they have nowhere to go. They don't have any options to get treatment."

  So while the Mission of Mercy will bring quick relief too many folks suffering from dental pain and infection, it will also shed some light on an unmet health care need.

  Again, it's free and open to everyone on a first come, first serve basis, beginning at 5:30 Friday morning at the Sanford Center in Bemidji.

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