Patients line up early for free dental care at Solano County Fairgrounds

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The California Dental Association Foundation and CDA are hosting a two-day dental clinic at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo to provide free oral health care to about 1,900 people.

Dentists and dental professionals will provide fillings, extractions, cleanings, limited dentures and partial dentures, root canals on front teeth, oral health education and assistance finding ongoing care.

Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis Friday and Saturday. Anyone can come and there is no need to show proof in come. 

On Friday morning, several hundred people were already in line at 3 a.m. 

Dan Petch of Modesto was waiting to get fillings and his mother-in-law needs new partial dentures.

"It would cost thousands of dollars," he said. "This is great." 

Roy Billings went to the last CDA dental clinic in Modesto in October and had to have more than dozen teeth extracted. He had planned to return to this clinic, months later, to get dentures. 

“Five months ago I had my teeth taken out. 17 teeth, and here I am today,” he said.

He was fitted for a full set of dentures at the clinic and when the dentists gave Billings a mirror to see his new teeth for the first time, he broke out in laughter. 

“Those are mine!” he shouted in disbelief. “These guys are great!” he said, referring to the volunteer dental professionals behind him as he gazed at his new smile. “I love it!

Billings said the experience is life-changing and that having a complete set of teeth allows him to pursue new opportunities. 

“I quit my job two years ago because of my teeth. I'll be looking for a job this week.”

According to the organizers, a significant number of Californians face barriers to dental care. CDA Cares educates the public and policymakers about the importance of good oral health and the need for continued improvements to the state Medi-Cal dental program. 

Doors open both days at 5:30 a.m.