Free dental clinic draws hundreds

LAUREL, Md. – They slept on the cold, hard ground Friday night – just to get a root canal. Hundreds of people from all over Maryland were treated at a two-day free dental clinic in Laurel this weekend.

Crystal, from Bowie, Md., arrived at St. Vincent Pallotti High School at 3 a.m. Saturday after working the night shift at an urgent care facility. “I think I need possibly a root canal and definitely a couple fillings. Any little bit will help, because I don’t want to lose all my teeth, but I know they need work and it’s a start,” she says.

She’s number 74 and considers herself lucky. Many others camped out on the street to secure their place in line. “This is like Christmas shopping, when you wait outside the store. Someone said that they laid in a parking spot,” she says.

She has a son and works two jobs to pay the bills, so taking care of her teeth was not a priority.

“I kind of let myself go. I had iron anemia and had to get infusions and with vitamin deficiencies, it’s hard on my teeth … I’m only 35 but I’m missing some teeth and they easily break. And by the time you add everything up, kids and everything else around them is more important.

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