East Texans Camp Out, Line Up For Free Dental Care

The line wrapped around the building.
A local dentist's efforts to offer free dental care to those in need was met with an overwhelming response.

Many spent the night in the cold to receive the care they needed. "Dentistry With A Heart" gave the low income the opportunity to receive dental cleanings, extractions, x-rays or fillings for free.

"I think it's pretty cool because they are helping people that can't afford it that have real major problems," said Brandy McDowell.

For Brandy, eating, drinking or just resting her head gave her nothing to smile about.

"All my (teeth) are broken right now it would cost a lot of money to get mine done. So maybe they'll help me."

Friday night, Brandy and her 3 friends waited almost 9 hours in her cold car for help. "It was still cold, because you couldn't run the heater."

Brandy's bottom tooth was broken in a car wreck in 1998. A slow pain had been growing ever since. The cost to fix the problem was anywhere between $100 to $600.
Something a woman with a limited income and dental insurance just couldn't afford.

"I'm a single mom I don't have anything like that."

But Saturday, thanks to the folks at Smith Dental Care, Brandy got the help she needed.
Her aching tooth was removed, free of charge and freeing her from her pain.
Afterwards, it was a little difficult for her to talk after the anesthesia but it was easy to understand how grateful she is.

"I'm very thankful," she said.

"Dentistry With A Heart" offered free care to almost 150 people. Doctor Smith and his staff hope to make "Dentistry With A Heart" an annual event. They plan to do it all again next year.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com