FORT SMITH, TX (KFSM) - When you have a tooth that needs to be pulled, it can cause aches, pain and even make you lose your appetite if you don't get it done. But this past weekend, dentists in the Fort Smith area got together to make sure that pain goes away just in time for Christmas.
A crowd of people line up outside the dental hygiene clinic at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith all waiting to get dental work done for free.
Dr. Charlie Liggett began free extraction day three years ago. He says, "About ten years ago, I started going to Jamacia doing mission trips, doing dental work, and I really think that's important, but I really saw a need for the same sort of thing here in Fort Smith."
Getting a tooth pulled can cost anywhere from $150 to $700. In a tough economy, Dr. Liggett says that's just too expensive for some people.
Once a year, anyone who needs a tooth pulled can come to Free Extraction Day. The limit is one tooth per person. All you need to bring is a list of your current medications.
Dr. Liggett says, "The last couple of years we've seen about 150 people in our office, so we're expecting to see quite a few more here with the added room and added help that we have."
This is the first year for the Free Extraction Day to be held at the UA Fort Smith Dental Hygiene Clinic. The bigger clinic allows more dentists to see more patients.
About a dozen local dentists volunteered their Saturday to pull teeth. And dental hygiene students have the opportunity to gain more hands on experience. Mitzi Efurd says, "The most exciting thing about today is that we want our students to be community service oriented and the first time we took them to the free extraction day last year, they kind of got the big picture."
A learning experience for students, an opportunity for dentists and their staffs to give back to the community, and a pain reliever for hundreds of people.