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Tennessee dentists oversee event that gives dental care to 150 underserved patients

July 07, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Photo of Dr. Roy Thompson, U.S. Rep. Scott Desjarlais and Dr. Cory Glenn
Generous smiles: Dr. Roy Thompson, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais and Dr. Cory Glenn pause to smile at the Franklin County One-Day Community Outreach event May 16 in Tennessee.
Winchester, Tennessee — Friends since dental school with practices just a couple miles apart, two rural Tennessee dentists decided in 2014 to initiate a day of service in their community by donating their time and expertise to as many underserved patients as they could.

The idea caught on. This year, the two dentists, Dr. Cory Glenn and Dr. Garrett Orr, recruited 16 other dentists from the surrounding area, along with hundreds of other volunteers for the event dubbed the Franklin County One-Day Community Outreach.

The efforts culminated May 16, when downtown Winchester, Tennessee, was transformed into a place of giving. Anyone could come and receive the services, which included medical screenings and eye exams — no questions asked.

“It is important to the community to see the other members of their community caring about them and for them. It’s what good neighbors do. We will hold this event every year that God provides us enough resources to do so,” said Dr. Orr.

Thanks to donations of time and skills from clinicians, 441 people received medical screenings or dental care that day, Dr. Orr said. About 150 patients received dental care — with dentists performing 220 routine extractions and 34 surgical extractions, said Dr. Glenn. 

“I actually extracted two full arches of teeth on two different patients,” Dr. Glenn said.

Hundreds of others received donations of food — two semi-truck loads of groceries were given away — and clothing, said Dr. Glenn. Drs. Orr and Glenn also offered post-op care to patients free of charge.

“They were all given toothbrush/floss/toothpaste and they all know that we’ll be doing the same (event) at the same time next year. Many this year were repeat participants,” Dr. Glenn said.

A Tennessee congressman, Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), who is also a physician, even came to the event.

The dentists first came up with the idea as members of their local Christian Medical and Dental Association and credit their faith with motivating them.

“We were so blown away by the response our first year (in 2014) and by how the community rallied behind it that we knew this had to become an annual event,” Dr. Glenn said.

Photo of Dr. Garrett Orr and staff
Helping out: Dr. Garrett Orr and staff work with a patient May 16 during the Franklin County One-Day Community Outreach with staff

Local government and nonprofits chipped in for the event both years, with supplemental help from private sponsors like Henry Schein, Patterson Dental and Septodont. This year, a flush of donations allowed the volunteer team to buy a portable X-ray unit for their clinic, which they set up inside a church for the event.

Drs. Glenn and Orr credit the sponsorship help and the time donated by many enthusiastic volunteers for the successful event that they plan to organize every year.

“They had absolutely no other incentive to be there other than the fact that wanted to give back,” Dr. Glenn said of the volunteers. “Everyone was just excited to help those in need.”