Central Piedmont Community College, the North Carolina Dental Society Foundation Missions of Mercy, the Charlotte area Dental Society Foundation Missions of Mercy (MOM), and other members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg dental community came together to offer a free dental clinic on April 29.
The joint clinic treated 85 patients who received more than $57,700 in free dental care. Held at Central Piedmont's dental clinic teaching labs, located in the Leon Levine Health Sciences Center, on the college's Central Campus, the goal of the nine-hour clinic was to provide essential dental services, such as restorative dental care and extractions, for underserved, in-need community members. Many of the patients had been treated by Central Piedmont dental hygiene students but needed additional treatment they could not afford.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first free dental clinic held in Charlotte since 2019. In the past, such clinics have been held at Bojangles Coliseum or the Charlotte Convention Center. The college opened the Levine Health Sciences Center and its dental clinic facilities in 2020. The college approached Charlotte MOM about the possibility of hosting a free clinic in the new, state of-the-art facilities. This was the first time in Charlotte and perhaps North Carolina that dental educational facilities were used to provide care to those in the community with no other care options.
"This was truly a collaborative effort between the college and the Charlotte-area dental community that brought this clinic to fruition," explained Linda Polito, dentist and associate dean of outpatient programs at Central Piedmont. "We thank North Carolina Dental Society Foundation MOM and Charlotte MOM for collaborating with the college and working together to provide care to community members in need."
Clinic organizers say the event partnerships and operation could become a pattern for other communities to follow. "We feel like the clinic was a great success and believe this kind of partnership and utilization of educational facilities could become a statewide and perhaps a national model," said Dr. Evan Miller, Charlotte MOM ambassador.
Central Piedmont offers a one-year dental assisting program and a two-year dental hygiene program. For more information, visit the college's healthcare career page, inquire by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 704.330.6496.