UCSD Offers Free Dental Clinics

Volunteer, Future Dentists Provide Free Care

Undergraduate pre-dental students from the University of California San Diego and volunteer dentists are working together to provide free dental care for San Diegans in need.

"We have people come in who haven't been to the dentist in 10 years, if ever," UCSD student clinic director Ellen Beck said.

But that doesn't matter to the men and women who are volunteering their time to provide free dental care to underserved San Diegans.

"The students devote themselves to one patient at a time to make a difference in a person's life," Beck said.

Clint Botha spends most of his time doing missionary work and for the last decade, he has had little time to visit a dentist.

"They have been slowly repairing holes in my teeth that needed repairing," Botha said.

Last year, the program provided about $400,000 of dental care to the needy.

"We have great doctors and do all the procedures and they show how to fix everything from step one to the final procedure," UCSD dental student Brock Lorenz said.

The volunteer dentists said they don't mind spending the extra time teaching.

"The students are so dedicated. We are so lucky to have all these students," volunteer dentist Dr. Riza dela Fuente-Lewis said.

And patients like Botha feel lucky, too.

"It really impresses me that people just give up so much of their time for other people -- that's what it's all about," Botha said.

The clinics depend on donations and grants to keep running.

For more information on the program, click here or call (858) 534-6110.

Baker Clinic Baker Elementary School 4041 T Street

Downtown Clinic First Lutheran Church 1420 Third Avenue (near the corner of Third Ave. and Ash St.)

Pacific Beach ClinicTemporarily closed due to renovations Pacific Beach Methodist Church 1561 Thomas Street (near the corner of Grand Ave. and Ingraham St.)

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