Hundreds drawn to free dental clinic in Marietta | News
MARIETTA, GA-- The prospect of a pulled tooth never looked so good. It's the reason Leah Presley of Cobb County waited outdoors ten hours overnight to get it done. Ten hours paled in comparison to the 22 years she'd waited until then.
"I was in a car wreck when I was sixteen years old," Presley said, "and have been in pain ever since. And I'm 38."
By dawn a couple hundred people had joined her outside the Marietta Family Dental Care clinic -- which had promised free dental care for the first 150 people to show up.
"No insurance," said Kim Warthen of Cobb County, who waited with Presley. "Never did qualify for any assistance. I always made like three dollars too much or -- I just fell through the cracks."
The clinic opened before 6am -- quickly filling the waiting room, filling the operatories and the clinic's hallways.
That's where Dr. Michael Mansouri juggled diagnoses and syringes filled with novicaine.
"Sit down. I'm gonna numb you right in the chair," Mansouri told a man seated on a folding chair in a hallway. Then he pulled out a syringe, and put its business end in the man's mouth.
Mansouri runs the clinic. He recruited dental hygienists, dental assistants and other doctors of dental surgery for the daylong siege.
"Unfortunately you know, in this economy, (health care) is the first thing people start neglecting," Mansouri said. "And a lot of people lose their insurances."
All day, Mansouri and his volunteers performed extractions, filled cavities and cleaned teeth too long overlooked.
"I had a filling done," said Erica Hood of Marietta. "Actually it wasn't painful but it was really bad. So if I hadn't have come today, it probably would have (become) a root canal."
All on a day when pulling teeth never looked so good.
"I 'd rather have another baby than have a toothache. And that's the truth," said Presley.