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Free dental clinic Friday aimed at low-income residents

Dr. Jeffrey Elliott of Santa Rosa Dental Care is once again playing Santa months before the holidays.

On Friday, Elliott will stage his second annual day of free dental care in his dental offices at 301 College Ave. in Santa Rosa. The charity event is aimed at local residents who do not have dental insurance and lack the means to pay for dental care out of pocket.

Last year, Elliott and a team of other volunteer dentists, hygienists and office staff provided free extractions, fillings and cleanings to more than 100 people. Organizers of the event once again expect long lines Friday.

“Last year when I got here at two in the morning, there were people lining up around the block,” said Nicole Burkett, Santa Rosa Dental Care's office manager. “I asked a guy in the front of the line what time he got in line and he said 9:30 the night before.”

The event is organized as part of a nationwide nonprofit campaign called Dentistry from the Heart. California's Medicaid program, Denti-Cal, does not cover adult dental care, leaving many people with few, if any, options for treatment.

Also, Medicare does not cover routine dental care for the elderly.

In just its second year, the event has attracted a number of other service providers. Community Action Partnership will be providing information about their dental clinics and Sonoma County mental health services will be giving information about the Brookwood Health Center and Project Nightingale emergency shelter.

Sonoma Avenue Church of Christ will provide water and food to those waiting in line while BloodSource will be conducting a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For the free dental care, patients will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. and will be seen throughout the day until 4:30 p.m.

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