HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Dental work can be expensive. Without insurance or money to take care of their teeth, many people end up in a lot of pain. The Community Free Dental Clinic in Huntsville is working to alleviate some of that.
Ginger Finzel, Community Free Dental Clinic Executive Director, says since its opening, the response has been huge.
“We are stunned,” says Finzel. “Nine months and we’ve treated just about 1,100 patients.”
Forty-three volunteer dentists along with a team of nurses and office staff handle the volume as best they can. The clinic only performs extractions. Pulling teeth is the easy part. Finzel says the patients pull at their heartstrings.
“It’s just unreal,” says Finzel. “It’s heartbreaking. People who are down on their luck or their spouse died and they can’t function on their own. We’ve had veterans. We’ve had young men that just got out of prison and they just want to get a new start on life and they’re in a lot of pain.”
Sometimes, the cases are more serious. The doctors have treated life-threatening abscesses and they do it with compassion.
“Our patients say they are just treated with so much respect,” says Finzel.
One of those volunteer dentists is Dr. Donald Porch, who sold his practice in Madison two years ago.
“There’s just a tremendous amount of need in this community,” says Porch. “We have people in the middle of all of our affluence who just are barely making it.”
For Dr. Porch, it’s needed and rewarding work.
“It’s just really rewarding to help people and there’s no asking for any money,” says Porch. “You’re just getting hugs, appreciation and thank. That makes me feel good. I feel like I`m giving back in a way I can best do it.”
It costs $4,000 a month to operate the clinic and every bit of donated time, supplies or money counts. Pay it Forward cash in the amount of $319 will help the cause.
“This is awesome!” says Finzel. “Thank you.”
The Community Free Dental Clinic does not take walk-ins. Here are the requirements:
- Must be at least 19 years old
- Resident of Madison County
- No insurance or access to insurance
- Photo ID
- Proof of income
- Call ahead to register
To schedule an appointment, call (256) 489-1853.