Free Dental Clinic in Sparks Serves Patients in Need | News

A brick building off Audi Avenue in Sparks sees patients twice a month with toothaches and sore mouths that might otherwise be ignored if they don't receive free care.

“The little things that we do, whether it's pulling a tooth out or making them a small partial denture or replacing some teeth, they're really grateful because they're really in pain,” Dr. Vaughan Stewart told the news on Friday. 2 News during his brief lunch break

Compassion Dental opened ten years ago. Executive Director JS Parker said the clinic served 260 patients last year and hopes to serve more than 400 patients in 2024.

“It's a far cry from the thousands of people who need it, but at least it allows us to do something in the community to help those people,” he said.

Currently, he's struggling to find the volunteers and funding needed to maintain services, but he has big long-term goals for the practice. Not only does he hope to one day have the clinic open every Sunday, but he hopes to expand services and become the first charitable dental urgent care facility in Northern Nevada.

“Every year, 10,000 non-traumatic dental emergency patients visit our hospital's four regional emergency rooms, and all they get when they go in is anesthetic or antibiotics. They can't get any dental help, so they're told to go out and find a dentist,” “He said. “Well, if these people had the ability to find a dentist, they would have done so.”

Although it's a goal that requires a lot of hard work, Parker said it's worth it because he knows how important dental care is to his patients' health. For the first time in years, he said, patients are telling him they feel comfortable smiling again.

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