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Annual Appalachian Miles for Smiles a huge success

A mobile dental office parked last month at the First United
Methodist Church in Mountain City provided free dental services to nearly 100 people. The service named Appalachian Miles for Smiles visits the area annually and provides a
variety of dental health services during a two-day event. Photo by David Holloway

By David Holloway

Staff Writer

Close to 100 were treated last month during a two-day, cost-free dental service appropriately named Appalachian Miles for Smiles in Mountain City.
According to organizers, the event, which was scheduled for June 21 and 22, and held at the First United Methodist Church parking lot that provided a temporary, mobile dental hub, was a great success.
“There would have been more people treated, but a few couldn’t receive treatment because of their blood pressure or blood sugar levels,” said event organizer Ellen Watkins. “We are planning to expand the services offered to include vision care as well in the future.”
During the two days, volunteers administered Tetanus shots, flu shots, sugar level checks, and blood pressure checks.
“The Johnson County Health Department gave out 50 Tetanus shots and 50 Whooping Cough shots,” Watkins said.
As it has been the case in the past, extractions are the most commonly performed procedure. This year there were 84 patient encounters, 210 extractions, 39 fillings and 28 cleanings, with all of the services adding up to a total value of $58,769 commercial dental services provided.
“Appalachian Miles for Smiles was happy to return to Johnson County again this year,” said Devin Cradic, Appalachian Miles for Smiles Program Manager. “When we were here last summer we saw first hand the immense need for dental services in this area and the lack of access to quality and affordable care that face many Johnson County residents.
Cradic specifically expressed appreciation for all the volunteers and their efforts when he said, “Our volunteers have once again stepped up and made this event a huge success, and the support and hospitality we have all received from the people of Mountain City has just been fantastic. We look forward to returning again next year.”