“Next year we will probably do things a little differently,” Wright said. “I wish there were other doctors in the area that would do it.”
Patrick Berryman, 21, Anderson, waited for more than seven hours for a tooth extraction that would have cost him between $180 to $300. Berryman said his tooth was broken and he had been dealing with the pain for about two years.
“I’ve never heard of free dentistry,” he said. “I did not know what to expect.”
Unfortunately, Berryman was told he would have to come back to receive his free extraction on another day.
Many people were turned away after 1 p.m. when organizers realized they were at their capacity to treat those already waiting in line before a 3 p.m. cutoff time. Coupons for discounted services were given to those who could not receive services. Some who had waited most of the day, like Berryman, were told they would have to come back on another day for their free service.
Darlene Beck-Williams, Anderson, brought her grandson, Jayvierir Williams, 3, to have his teeth cleaned, but she was one of the many people who were given a coupon to later receive discounted services.
“We wanted to get a cleaning and see what is going on with our teeth,” she said. “When I read about it I could not believe it was free. I was a little shocked.”
Chowdhary said the best advice he can give people to prevent major dental costs is to receive regular dental care. He said too often people choose to neglect their dental work until major procedures are required.
“With regular care we can catch things when they are smaller and not only is it easier to care for them when they are smaller, it is cheaper than if you wait,” he said.
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Dental facts According to the American Dental Association, about half of all lower income Americans did not visit a dentist, and a little over a third admit to living with an untreated cavity.