Madison nonprofit helping train students, offering free dental care

Posted Thursday, January 16th, 2014----- 5:00 p.m.

A Madison nonprofit is bringing relief to thousands through free dental care and its services don't stop there.
It started out as a dentist chair in a break room, offering free dental care to Dane County residents, that has grown to be both a health care and teaching facility. helping change lives one smile at a time.

Ryan Nicker says the pain would never stop. "It was throbbing really bad, the pain was horrible," he said. His tooth needed to be removed and quickly.
"It was hard to lay down, it was hard to sleep," Nicker explained. He's one of 1,200 people in the past year that has had their lives changed by Madison Dental Initiative. "If I don't have the finances what else can I do? I would've been stuck with the pain," he said.

It's a clinic where anyone can go and get free dental services, with or without insurance. "We provide that safety net," said Lisa Bell, Executive Director with Madison Dental Initiative. Helping with a cost that many can't cover, like Ron, who has brought three of his kids here today, showing them the importance of a healthy smile.
"This is great, this will help them down the line," he explained.

This clinic has some big plans this year, partnering with the boys and girls club and providing a mentorship program for high school students interested in dentistry.
"It sticks and aligns with our mission as an organization, to not only provide care but provide an avenue for students to work with us," said Bell.

Ron knows this is important.. "I didn't do the best in my younger years and paid for it down the line," he said. Starting his kids off on the right foot; thanks to numerous volunteers and funding from the community. "We're in a world where people do care. I just feel better about the world we live in," he said.

Madison Dental Initiative is located in the Salvation Army building and is really made possible by the more than 100 volunteers, who include dentists, dental hygienists and students; and organizers say they're always looking for more.

More information on days and times for appointments: www.mdidental.org


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