AUGUSTA, GA (WJBF) - Volunteers have transformed the James Brown Arena into one massive dental office to host thousands of patients on a first come, first serve basis. Georgia Mission of Mercy (GMOM) is a free two-day clinic focusing on adults who are not able to see a dentist.
You can see a dentist for free Friday and Saturday at the James Brown Arena in downtown Augusta. Doors open at 5AM and they will work until 5PM; however, the clinic usually fills up by mid-morning. There were already people waiting in line the morning beforehand.
GMOM is organized by the Georgia Dental Association and its Foundation for Oral Health. Director and Augusta Dentist Dr. Michael Vernon says a key part of the event is education.
“We tell them what they can do to keep healthy and where they can go and things like that,” Dr. Vernon says.
Dr. Vernon points out that fixing someone’s smile is bigger than just cosmetic. “It does a wonderful job for their self-esteem and helps them where they can get to a job interview and be presentable.”
This is the fourth year Augusta Dentist Dr. Louvenia Rainge has shut her business doors to serve others.
“You see these people come in with dental needs, hurting, in pain and when they get to the exit they are just so happy, tears, it’s very emotional!” Dr. Rainge explains.
At the last clinic in Perry, GA, volunteers helped roughly 2,000 people in two days and gave away about $1.5 million worth of dental care. This is the first year the clinic will happen in Augusta, Dr. Raige’s own community.
“I’m so happy it's here because there are so many people in this area and they've never heard of GMOM,” Dr. Rainge says. “They don't know of any other way to go and get any other dental treatment so we are here for two days to provide something for them.”
Friday and Saturday, dental professionals will offer cleanings, X-Rays, fillings and more.
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