Madison Clinic Offers Free Dental Services For Needy

At a time when many lack comprehensive health insurance, the organization Touched Twice Madison offers a myriad of health services to those in need — for free.

The self-described “faith-based” organization held one of its popular semi-annual clinics on Saturday on Commercial Avenue in Madison, and many came out to take advantage.

One of the most unique parts of the event involves its focus on an often-overlooked need. Saturday’s event focused on dental care.

“I got here at midnight. I’m glad I did,” said Cory McDonnell, of McFarland, referring to the crowds that started to assemble hours prior to the clinic’s scheduled 10 a.m. opening.

Without dental insurance, it has been a long time since McDonnell last saw a dentist.

“A couple of my teeth just kind of broke down. Pretty painful. I also chipped a tooth,” said McDonnell.

The Touched Twice Madison clinic’s dental care program is the first chance he’s had for relief.

As folks waited for services, volunteers were busy surveying the line of patients in order to diagnose what care they needed.

“We’re not just doing sealants and fluoride treatments. We’re busing our patients to the office and meeting all of their needs,” said volunteer Krysta Wetzel.

On Saturday, McDonnell saw Dr. Robb Warren, who helped establish the dental program half a decade ago.

When it began, 28 patients were seen at no cost.

“After five years, at the last fall clinic, we were able to see 236 patients and provide almost a quarter of a million dollars of care. It?s been absolutely amazing,” said Warren.

Warren said what he and other volunteers can offer helps to lift spirits and can improve overall health.

“To be able to give something back, to be able to smile, to be able to eat, to feel good about themselves, and be able to live a pain-free life, it goes for the rest of their life. It’s a great gift we’re able to give,? said Warren.

McDonnell said he is very grateful for the help he received.

“I always used to think I was lucky. Today, I feel I was blessed. It’s just good to have my front teeth back where I can smile,? said McDonnell.

With the limited number of dentists able to volunteer, there are limits to how many people can be helped during a one-day clinic.

Organizers said they hope that, in the near future, at least one person from every dental office in Madison will volunteer their time to contribute.

Those in need who were unable to make it for Saturday’s clinic should note that another program that offers free dental care exists. And thanks to a grant, the facility that the program is able to use has been upgraded.

An open house will be held on April 14 for people to see how that program works. The event is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army Shelter located at 630 East Washington Avenue.

For more information on Touched Twice Madison, go to its web site.