Having a toothache is something most people have experienced, but not everyone can afford to see a dentist.
Statesboro dentist Dr. Richard Marz realizes this, and through a program called “A Gift of Dentistry,” he and partnering volunteers hope to help scores of area residents who have no insurance or can’t afford dental care.
A local outreach, the Hearts and Hands Clinic offers a no-cost dental clinic year-round, but it is limited and the waiting list is sometimes long. Marz and his associate, Dr. Alex Brown, have teamed up with volunteers from East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery and Ogeechee Technical College’s dental assisting program to hold “A Gift of Dentistry” in order to provide as much dental care to as many people as possible.
“We hope to serve more, but we guarantee to help at least 60 people,” he said.
The one day of dental care at no charge to those who qualify will be held Friday, Dec. 6, from 8 a.m. “until we get done,” he said. However, space is limited, so he urges people to show up early in order to secure a spot.
The services offered are one cleaning, one filling or one extraction. They will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.
This year is the sixth year the program has been offered. Anyone who is “truly in need of dental care” and does not have the ability to pay is eligible, he said.
Marz and his team of volunteers will begin triaging patients at 8 a.m. Cleanings, fillings and x-rays will be completed in Marz’s office. Those needing extractions will be referred to East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, located near Premier Dental Wellness at 1130 Brampton Avenue.
While the services are no charge for patients, those involved are volunteering their time and services to the community for free, Marz said. That is why he hopes people help spread the word so they can help as many as possible.
Last year about 75 people were served, and they began lining up at 6:30 a.m. to make sure they got a spot on the list, he said.
There is no need to call the office for an appointment, as the services will be offered to those in the order that they arrive, he said.
Marz has been in dentistry 35 years, 31 of those spent practicing in Statesboro.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.