Hundreds line up in Laurel for free dental care

LAUREL, Md. (WJLA) - Hundreds of people are getting free dental care at Saint Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel, Maryland. Friday and Saturday, dentists will provide everything from cleanings to surgery for free for as many adults as possible. Patients started lining up before sunrise Friday.

For Ruth, a Prince George's County resident, Friday was the first time in five years that she's seen a dentist.

"Oh it just wonderful when someone is giving you services like this wonderful dentist here," said Ruth. "It means everything."

More than 300 volunteer dentists, hygienists and pharmacists are providing the dental care. The pop-up dental clinic is expected to serve about 800 people and provide $650,000 in dental work.

"We're doing what we can to get them out of pain and get them restored back to some sort of function," explained Chris Liang, a dentist participating in the pop up clinic.

The free event is cosponsored by Catholic Charities and the Maryland Office of Oral Health.

Josh Ritchie came for a root canal. He says after years of pain, the surgery is a blessing.

"I couldn't ask for anything better than this right now," said Ritchie. "My teeth are the best thing in the world to me."

The clinic will be open again at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, and organizers are advising people to get in line very early. Patients will be seen on a first come first serve basis.