100-plus appointments booked for 'No Cost Dental Day' in Clarenville

100-plus appointments booked for 'No Cost Dental Day' in Clarenville

There were 62 messages on Clarenville Dental Care's answering machine the morning after announcing plans to hold a No Cost Dental Day this weekend. 

"We're trying to really give dental care back to those who really need it the most," said dental hygienist Sarah Lush.

Lush said the original idea was to devote a Saturday to walk-in patients but the response was overwhelming. 

"I'm going to try my best to keep it together tomorrow because I think it's going to be so giving to people, to put smiles on their faces," said Lush. 

"It's definitely going to be overwhelming but it's going to be great."

The clinic has taken calls from all over Newfoundland — even booking appointments for people living as far away as Marystown, Bonavista and St. John's. 

Lush said the goal is to offer fillings, cleanings and extractions to people who aren't covered under dental insurance.

"We had one lady call and tell us that she has this front tooth that has a cavity in it and she won't go out in public. She won't smile because of this issue," said Lush when asked the type of calls the office is handling. 

She said there are also a number of seniors booking appointments for Saturday.

Both Conservative and Liberal governments have made cuts to provincial programs that covered dental care costs for low-income and senior residents in the province.

Lush said the response has been so high that the dental clinic hopes to have another No Cost Dental Day next year.

The Clarenville clinic isn't the first to offer free smiles. In December, Paradise Dental Care threw open its doors on a Sunday to about 20 patients who struggled to pay for treatment.