Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Free two-day dental clinic in Tampa begins Friday

TAMPA — About 2,000 people are expected to get free dental care at a two-day event this week sponsored by the Florida Dental Association.

The state's first Mission of Mercy event will be held Friday and Saturday at the Florida State Fairgrounds, in the special events pavilion. Services provided by volunteer dentists will include cleanings, fillings and extractions.

The doors open at 5:30 a.m. each day, and patients will be seen first-come, first-served. Organizers are urging participants to come early. No proof of income is required.

Dr. Terry Buckenheimer, a Tampa dentist who serves as president of the Florida Dental Association, had heard about similar events in other states and decided to organize this one at the fairgrounds. Mission of Mercy events started in Virginia in 2000.

He expects a big turnout and said that likely demand is driven by a number of factors, including unemployment and the refusal by many dental practices to deal with the state Medicaid program, which pays nothing for adult dental care and very little for children. Without regular care, he noted, the problems add up fast.

"In dentistry, we've relied on prevention," he said. "However we're lacking in that lately."

Nearly 300 dentists will be on hand at this week's event as well about 1,300 volunteers. The services are primarily aimed at adults, though there will be limited services for children. He said there will be an area where children can wait while their parents are being treated.

The dental association has been advertising the event on billboards and is also working with social service organizations to get the word out. Some faith-based organizations are providing transportation for their clients.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at or (813) 226-3374.

.Fast facts

If you go

The two-day free dental event runs from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the special pavilion at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 Highway 301 N. Parking is free at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Use the Martin Luther King Jr. entrance located on the south side of the fairgrounds. For information, go to

Free two-day dental clinic in Tampa begins Friday 03/23/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 23, 2014 8:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Drier pattern ending in Tampa Bay as front brings building rain chances throughout weekend


    The drier, hot weather pattern across Tampa Bay will remain in place Friday before rain chances start to ramp up yet again through the weekend and into next week.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Police investigating death of child in Largo


    LARGO — An investigation is underway into the death of a child Thursday night at a mobile home park and a 25-year-old man has been named as a suspect, the Largo Police Department said.

  3. Goodbye, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle: Apple kills products as music moves to phones


    SAN FRANCISCO — The iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle have played their final notes for Apple.

    An iPod, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle are displayed at an Apple store in New York in 2015. The company discontinued sales of the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle on Thursday, July 27, 2017, in a move reflecting the waning popularity of the devices in an era when most people store or stream their tunes on smartphones. [Associated Press]
  4. Review: Sherman Alexie's 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me' a moving mother-son memoir


    Grief has no timetable and abides by no map or pattern. Nor, despite the efforts of the most skilled storytellers, does it surrender to our narratives about it.

    LOVEIS WISE   |   Special to the Times
  5. Founder of Tampa home sharing platform questions Airbnb, NAACP partnership


    TAMPA — A Tampa rival to Airbnb, which was launched because of discrimination complaints on the dominant home sharing platform, has concerns about the new partnership between Airbnb and NAACP announced this week.

    Rohan Gilkes poses for a portrait at his home and business headquarters in Tampa. 

Innclusive, a Tampa-based start-up, is a home-sharing platform that focuses on providing a positive traveling experience for minorities. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]