Dental Access Days organizer Bill McKinley confers with fundraising coordinator Heather McKinley. The Rotary Club estimates that 11,000 in dental care was provided at Dental Access Days.Photo from Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club

Volunteers from the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club recently helped construct a temporary dental clinic at the Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave. Volunteer dental practitioners treated about 100 patients over the two-day event. Children, teens and adults received comprehensive restorative and aesthetic treatment. A total of 64 volunteers were involved.

Bill McKinley, who organized the event, said that, when electrical service was temporarily interrupted by a storm, the staff was in the midst of a difficult extraction, but improvised with battery-powered headlamps until power was restored. He also described the story of a young woman who had lost her top three front teeth and was desperate to be able to smile at her wedding the following weekend: “When they put the partial into her mouth and she looked in the mirror for the first time … well, you can guess what happened. It was a touching moment for everyone, volunteers and patients alike,” he said.

This year vision screenings were added to the dental services offered with about 30 people evaluated by volunteers from the Illinois Eye Institute.

Dental Access Days was started by the Giving Hand Foundation and the Pankey Institute, a non-profit educational center for dentists that encourages their alumni to provide oral care to the underserved.