SIDNEY – The Nebraska Dental Association (NDA) in conjunction with Mission of Mercy (MOM) is hosting a free dental clinic at the Mitchell Event Center today until 5 p.m. and tomorrow from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More than 90 chairs will be set up for those needing dental services.
This NDA-supported event is one of many clinics provided for those who do not have dental insurance.
The average cost for a dental check-up in the state of Nebraska is $45 to $75.
While dental health is a focus for area residents this weekend, an upcoming bill may affect the number of uninsured citizens going to the dentist for preventative care.
In an interview, NDA Executive Director Dr. David O’Doherty told The Sun-Telegraph that the fluoridation bill proposed in the state legislature three years ago went to the floor last year as a priority bill.
Sen. Joel Johnson introduced LB 245, which requires all Nebraska cities and towns with populations over 1,000 to add fluoride to public water systems.
Provisions will allow communities to vote to opt out of the requirements by 2010.
Gov. Dave Heineman vetoed the measure, saying it amounted to an unfunded state mandate, citing the $5,000-per-well costs of fluoridation equipment.
His veto was set aside later in the day on a 31-4 vote – one more than needed for an override.
O’Doherty said these clinics mainly take place where city water is not fluoridated, stating that fluoridating the water lowers dental decay by 20 to 40 percent.
“This is information taken from 60 years of peer reviewed studies,” O’Doherty said. “It is good for overall oral health.”
While the argument whether or not to fluoridate Nebraska’s water may be an ongoing one, area residents can take advantage of free dental care by attending the clinic.