Dental care

Every year, a handful of upper-level dental students and faculty from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry in Lincoln carpool 95 miles west to Grand Island.

Their purpose: to alleviate pain by providing free oral surgery for adults who have no other means to access oral care.

They spend the day pulling teeth from grateful patients at the annual clinic held in October, in collaboration with Third City Clinic, a federally qualified health center that identifies the needy clients.

“For the people who come to this clinic, there is no place else to go,” said Sue Aguilar, Third City Clinic manager.

Their clients, she said, are a mixture of veterans, homeless, and low-income patients who have no insurance.

Confronted by a population seeking dental relief, Aguilar asked the UNMC College of Dentistry to help.

The UNMC College of Dentistry provides the man power and surgical instruments needed for the clinic and a dental alum volunteers his dental practice.

“We cannot afford to hire a dentist at our clinic and if it weren’t for the annual extraction clinic where else would these folks with pain go?” Aguilar said.