FAIRFIELD — Two Solano County fairgrounds buildings on Friday and Saturday will be turned into the region’s largest dental clinic, providing free care to those who otherwise wouldn’t get any.
People can come to the California Dental Association Cares event for teeth cleanings, fillings, extractions and oral health assistance. They simply need to show up, without such requirements as identification. About 800 dentists and professionals will be on hand to do the work.
The clinics are to begin taking people in at 5:30 a.m. People will register through triage and get X-rays. Usually, the events stop taking new patients at 2 p.m. or so, given that it take about two hours to get through the clinic, said Alicia Malaby of the California Dental Association.
Sponsoring the event are the California Dental Association and California Dental Association Foundation. Go to www.cdafoundation.org/cda-cares for information on the groups.
Some people lined up two days early for a similar event in Sacramento, Malaby said in an email. The association encourages people who choose to camp out to bring food, water and blankets.
Solano County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Linda Seifert worked for more than a year to get the California Dental Association and its foundation to offer a local event.
“First, we have a huge dental need in the county,” Seifert said. “Second, because I had worked with the dental association in the past.”
More than 2,000 people came to past events in other counties, Seifert said. She enthusiastically showed photos on her phone from another event, with people by the dozens in the clinic receiving care.
The California Dental Association Foundation on Sept. 24, 2013, made a presentation to the Board of Supervisors about the event. The foundation since May 2012 has had three events in other counties.
“Our primary goal is to relieve dental pain and infection,” foundation Executive Director Cathy Mudge told the board.
About 30 percent of Californians face barriers to getting dental care. More than half a million California students miss class because of dental issues, according to the California Dental Association Foundation.
“We know even within the health community, dental care is not necessarily a priority,” Mudge said. “It has been a second-class citizen for many years.”
She showed the board photos of people who came to past events who were missing most if not all of their teeth.
“We can change a life, which makes us feel great,” Mudge said.
Solano County committed $95,000 to the clinic, with $75,000 coming from the county budget and $20,000 from First 5 Solano. Among the local contributors are Kaiser Permanente at $20,000, NorthBay Healthcare at $15,000 and Sutter Health and Valero at $10,000 each.
Seifert said that the Solano County Sheriff’s Office is providing security at no cost. The fair is providing facilities at reduced costs.
The Solano C0unty Fairgrounds is located at 900 Fairgrounds Drive in Vallejo.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.