Long Lines Await at Free Dental Clinic

By Lauren Lee
|  Saturday, Dec 7, 2013  |  Updated 9:36 AM PDT
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People started showing up early this morning to save their spot in line for a free dental clinic at the Del Mar Fairgrounds this weekend. NBC 7's Lauren Lee talked to the early arrivers.

People started showing up early this morning to save their spot in line for a free dental clinic at the Del Mar Fairgrounds this weekend. NBC 7's Lauren Lee talked to the early arrivers.

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More than 2,000 people are expected for this weekend's free dental clinic at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The doors don't open until early Saturday, but people started lining up Friday morning to get assistance.

More than 600 volunteer dentists and hygienists will help with the event, put on by the California Dental Association. They'll be treating patients with fillings, extractions, cleanings and more.

“These are the working poor and a lot of them don’t qualify for state assistance, so we’re trying what we can do to take care of their dental issues,” said oral surgeon Russ Webb. “The need is huge, and we realize that.”

Many patients said they don't have insurance or simply can’t pay for dental care, so some drove several hours from all over California to the free event on Jimmy Durante Blvd.

“I’m afraid to smile at people because I don’t want to look ugly to people,” said Laurie Kilian, who drove seven hours from Paso Robles. “Lucky doesn't even describe the way I feel. I can't wait to be my old bubbly self with a smile again "

The event begins at 5:30 a.m. both on Saturday and Sunday. Identification isn’t necessary and there will be a covered area for anyone camping out overnight.

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