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Dental clinic offering free work gets national recognition

Onslow Community Outreach dental clinic is being noticed by the American Dental Association for their efforts in providing free dental care to people who can't afford it. (Merrilee Moore, NewsChannel 12 photo)

One local dental clinic is getting national recognition for helping the uninsured.

"I was at work and I bit into something," Jay Jacobsen said. "I was eating lunch and then cracked my tooth in half."

If this happened to you, you'd probably make an appointment with your dentist, but when Jacobsen didn't have insurance he thought he was out of options.

"It's almost like an act of congress," Jacobsen said. "I mean, you know, you can't just walk in and say 'pull my tooth.'"

That's when Jacobsen heard about the Caring Community Dental Clinic, where patients don't need insurance to get dental pain treated.

"That's why most dentists go into dentistry," Dr. Virginia Wilson, the Director and Founder of the clinic, said. "It's because they have a love of people and they want to help them."

Dr. Wilson and her husband are both retired dentists who now volunteer their time and skills at the Caring Community Dental Clinic every week, often donating their own money to keep it running.

"Ideally, I would love for this to be a complete dental home for our patients," Dr. Wilson said.

While they are unable to provide full dental care as of yet, the Wilsons do treat dental pain. For Jacobsen, getting his broken tooth pulled was good enough.

"Without this clinic being here, I would have been in pain for probably a week or more," Jacobsen said.

Nearly 800 people visit Onslow Memorial Hospital every year because of dental pain and many of those people can't afford to get that dental paint treated. At a normal dentist office, Jacobsen would have had to pay anywhere between $400 and $500 for his treatment, but at the clinic, he was able to walk out pain free without paying a dime. Now, the dental clinic is being noticed by the American Dental Association for their efforts in providing free dental care to people who can't afford it.

The Caring Community Dental Clinic is located at 1 Dewitt Street in Jacksonville. It's open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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