Free dental clinic in Houston will be open Saturday morning

By Cory McCord - Digital News Editor, Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - The Texas Dental Association brought more than 60 dentists to Houston to provide free dental care on Friday and Saturday.

The Texas Mission of Mercy dental clinic is operating at the Emancipation Park gymnasium in the Third Ward.

The free pop-up begins each day at 5 a.m. and is open to adults and children 8 years and up. The clinic operates on a first-come, first-served basis and stops accepting patients once capacity is reached.

According to the clinic, capacity was reached Friday around 8 a.m. Officials said more than 350 Houstonians were seen Friday.

"We average about $700 to $800 worth of free dental work for each patient. Some may get $2,000, some $500, some $1,200, but the average is $800 per person," a clinic official said.

Oscar Arredondo is a gas line repairman and was treated Friday. He was thankful the work was free.

"I think it's magnificent. I thank all the people that have helped to achieve this. This is fantastic," Arredondo said.

People were asked to return Saturday at 5 a.m.

Services range from cleanings and X-rays to root canals.

Delores Ford is a grandmother who hadn't been to the dentist in 20 years because the cost was just too much for her. On Friday, she was able to have some teeth extracted and also had some composites inserted in the front of her jaw. 

Tips to get you through the dental screening faster:

  1. Arrive early -- by 5 a.m. or earlier.
  2. Type up a list of dental problems you’ve dealt with over the past five years.
  3. If you have them, bring your medical records with you. Your medical history is important.

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