By danny restivo
Loretta Opencar has no medical insurance. She said there were times when she put off buying food to have enough money to purchase her prescription medication.
The unemployed mother of three has never had dental insurance, and her wisdom teeth have been causing her pain recently. Earlier this week, she learned that the Braydich Dental Clinic in Hubbard was offering free teeth extractions, cleanings and fillings Friday for anyone 18 years and older without dental coverage. Opencar said she worried about infections from her dental pain and decided it was worth a visit.
“This is free, and I thought it would be a good idea, not to mention that I can’t chew on that side,” she said.
Friday’s event was part of Dentistry From the Heart, a nonprofit organization that provides free dental work for people in need. Brothers and Drs. Mark and Rudy Braydich brought the program to Hubbard, and with the help of local businesses and volunteers, the clinic offered a day of free dental care.
“We’re blessed to have a great business, and we’re trying to give back to the community,” said Dr. Rudy Braydich. “By being blessed we want to be a blessing to others”
This is the second annual event; last year 100 people were served. On Friday, the clinic had exceeded that number by noon, and staff there predicted twice as many people would show up before the free clinic ended at 5 p.m.
Dr. Braydich said the community also played an important part in creating the charitable event. Volunteers and organizers helped sign patients in and offered sandwiches and drinks before they were called in to the dentist’s chair.
Joanne Cutter of Hubbard’s Christians in Action volunteered to help sign in people. She said she felt compelled to help because a lot of people couldn’t afford dental insurance in the current economic climate.
“It’s the last thing you think about until it gets really bad,” she said of dental care.
Opencar said she had been waiting at the clinic for three hours for her tooth extraction. She said it was OK as long as she was able to pick her daughters up from school around 3 p.m.
“I’ll bring them here if they ever do this again,” she said.