The eighth annual Mission of Mercy Free Dental Clinic kicked off Friday morning.
Thousands of people are expected to take advantage of care in Danbury this weekend. In fact, officials said the clinic reached capacity around 1:30 p.m. and closed its doors for the day. It will reopen Saturday morning at 6 a.m.
Doors at the O'Neill Center at Western Connecticut State University opened at 6 a.m. on Friday.
Many people began lining up beforehand. The line stretched well out of the door Friday morning.
To a lot of families, a trip of the dentist comes down to dollars and cents. That means it may not fit into the budget.
They told Eyewitness News on Friday that they're thankful for the priceless gift.
"There is really no organized system to deliver care to adults in this country," said Dr. Bob Schreibman, a volunteer. "So it's not an easy thing to do."
Schreibman is one of a number of volunteers who stood at the ready to take care of patients.
The two-day clinic runs through Saturday. More than 2,000 patients are expected to receive care.
People who do not have access to dental care can receive cleanings, extractions and root canals free of charge.
When the event began eight years ago, volunteers said many patients needed more complex services. However, now they are seeing the fruits of their labor.
"Over the past few years, we've been doing a lot of preventative services and more basic services," said Dr. Bruce Tandy, a volunteer. "So hopefully we feel that we got some indication that the oral health population is getting better."
The CT Foundation for Dental Outreached partnered with WFSB for the event.
The O'Neill Center is located at 43 Lake Ave. Ext. in Danbury.
More information can be found on the Mission of Mercy's website here or by calling 860-863-5940.
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