Mission helps low-income East Texans get eye, dental care

Published on Sunday, 23 February 2014 01:54 - Written by Coshandra Dillard cdillard@tylerpaper.com

Low-income individuals of all ages have an opportunity to receive free dental and vision care services as part of an East Texas Mission of Mercy program.

Beginning at 7:30 a.m. Friday at Bethesda Health Clinic, patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

All people who receive treatment must be screened Friday to schedule their appointment for Saturday at a treatment site. Screenings are necessary to determine whether the work needed can be done.

Services to be provided are: dental examinations, extractions and oral surgery, dental fillings, eye exams and vision care.

For dental, priority services will be provided for pain, infection and necessary extractions. Fillings and other services will be provided as available at the treatment sites.

People are eligible if they have an income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and are unable to afford the services.

Local agencies, health departments, county indigent offices, or treatments facilities may identify prospective patients.

However, all patients will have the personal responsibility to appear for the screening and their scheduled appointment the next day.

The charitable clinic was created in 2001 when several dentists realized the need for dental care in East Texas. Organizers raised $150,000 for the first event.

More than $1 million worth of services has been offered since 2001.

Typically, several hundred people are helped at each event.