JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of people throughout the greater Jacksonville area received free dental work worth more than $1.6 million Saturday.
The Florida Mission of Mercy wrapped up a two-day dental clinic sponsored by the Florida Dental Association Foundation.
More than 1,100 people stopped by the pop-up dentist office inside the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
“We try to get people out of pain. Some of the procedures that we focus on are dental extractions, restoration, cleanings and dentures,” explained oral surgeon Dr. Dan Gesek.
Heidi Fisher was among those who took advantage of the free dental care. She said she feels more confident.
“I am just so thankful because if it wasn’t for these people, I would not be able to afford to do this and I would not be able to get it done,” Fisher said. “I am trying to seek more employment because I lost my job because of COVID last year, and I don’t want to go with bad teeth. I work around the public. It’s embarrassing. I wasn’t in real pain. I was worried more teeth were going to fall out.”
Nine-year-old Caleya is about to start school with a healthy smile and she’s promising to eat healthy food for her teeth.
“I am going to go into the fourth grade!” she said. “I am going to get a tooth pulled and I guess get shots in my mouth.”
Dr. Natalie Car Bustillo has been practicing for more than 23 years.
“I think we have a special skill in dentistry that we can provide patients to be able to fix their teeth, get them out of pain, children set them up for a lifetime,” she said.
The next Florida Mission of Mercy dental clinic is March 11-12, 2022 in Tallahassee.