Dental practice offers free clinic for uninsured people

Saturday event begins with registration at 6 a.m.

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter



If you go

• Who: Uninsured children and adults in need of dental care.

• What: Free dental care, including extractions, fillings and cleanings.

• When: 6 a.m. registration, 8 a.m. exams begin on Saturday. Patients seen on first come, first served basis.

• Where: Gillespie Dentistry, 13200 S.E. McGillivray Blvd., in Vancouver.

• More information: 360-892-6132 or Gillespie Dentistry.

Smiles are the only payment Gillespie Dentistry will accept for providing dental care this weekend.

The Vancouver dental office is partnering with a national nonprofit to provide free dental care to Clark County residents this Saturday.

For eight hours, Dr. Bradley Gillespie will open his office doors and provide dental care to those with pain or who have gone years without an exam or cleaning. Six local dentists will volunteer their time to perform the extractions, fillings and cleanings, said Ryan Davis, Gillespie Dentistry office administrator.

“We’re going to try and get as many done as possible,” Davis said.

The event is open to all adults and children without dental insurance or the means to pay for dental care. The focus is on procedures that are an immediate necessity for patients, Davis said.

Gillespie Dentistry will begin event registration at 6 a.m. Saturday. At 8 a.m., dentists will begin seeing patients. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis until about 4 p.m., Davis said.

Organizers expect to treat 150 to 200 patients during the eight-hour free clinic.

Gillespie Dentistry is partnering with the nonprofit Dentistry From The Heart to provide the services. Various dental offices across the country, including some in Portland, have held Dentistry From The Heart clinics. But this weekend’s clinic is the nonprofit’s first event in Clark County, Davis said.

Other events have attracted hundreds of people, many camping out the night before the event to ensure a spot in the dentist’s chair, Davis said.

Organizers at Gillespie Dentistry are urging people to dress for the weather, bring snacks and be prepared to wait. Those who are not in the dentist’s chair will have to wait outside because the office isn’t big enough to accommodate everyone, Davis said.

While the dentists won’t likely be able to treat everyone who shows up Saturday, Davis said staff will help as many people as possible.

“I wish we could see everybody,” he said.

Marissa Harshman:;;; 360-735-4546.