Bethesda offers free dental care to those in need

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A trip to the dentist is painful and expensive...or is it? While they can't get rid of all the pain, two dozen Tyler dentists are doing away with the expense part this weekend with a project called East Texas Mission of Mercy.

Mardell Loyd feels the pain of dental work in her bank account.

She says, "Dental work is a high cost in these days in time. Insurances don't pay a lot."

It left Loyd with no choice but to ignore the problem, until she found out about free dental care. She's grateful for the dentists who will be volunteering to perform fillings, extractions, cleanings and other minor procedures.

"It speaks a lot about them and their character and about the business that they are in," she added.

Dr. David Nichols created East Texas Mission of Mercy 13 years ago for people who cannot afford dental care.

"We bring them in, first come first served, every other year and treat as many as we can. We have as many as 20-25 dentists that volunteer to work in their offices on Saturday. We will be as efficient and as rapid as we can. We will appoint them to come to about 10 different clinics in Tyler on Saturday. They will be given appointments and treated like regular patients," Dr. Nichols explained.

Loyd says she's spreading the word.

"I'm going to let them know about this. Children going to college that need dental work. It's a prime time in their lives that they need to take care of issues so they won't have later on issues. If it's free, they need to make their way over there."

They have been putting on this clinic for 13 years, and for Loyd, 13 seems to be her lucky number. "I think that it is a wonderful thing that they are doing," Loyd adds.

Registration and screening opens Friday, February 28 at 7:30 a.m. at the Bethesda Health Clinic, located at 409 West Ferguson Street in Tyler. Appointments will be Saturday, March 1, at various dental offices.

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