The first Piedmont Smiles offered free dental treatments to eligible adults in Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Madison and Orange counties.
“Piedmont Smiles” tentatively will take place next fall, according to Fauquier Free Clinic Director Rob Marino, who citied the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission in the region.
“While we are disappointed that we had to make this change, it ultimately is the right call for the safety of everyone involved,” Mr. Marino said. “A large-scale gathering carries a lot of risk.
“Our leadership team and our partners at the dental schools felt that the time was not yet right for this. The community needs more time to get everyone vaccinated against COVID so that we can gather safely and protect our patients and volunteers. When we do this, we want it to be a big event that makes a significant and positive impact.”
The free clinic continues working to provide dental treatment to patients that had pre-registered for Piedmont Smiles by Aug. 31, Mr. Marino said.
“We are doing all that we can to help those patients in need who have already registered for the event and will be reaching out to them directly to schedule appointments as they are available,” he explained. “Unfortunately, our capacity will be greatly reduced, but we look forward to helping more people in 2022.”
Lynn Lauritzen of the PATH Volunteer Hub expressed thanks to more than 200 people who had volunteered to help at the event.
“Local lay people, nurses, doctors and dental professionals clearly see the value in providing dental care to everyone who needs it,” Ms. Lauritzen said. “We had a huge response when we asked for help and we’re very thankful for their willingness to help the community. We hope we can continue their involvement again next year.”
The event at Fauquier High School would have provided cleanings, fillings, extractions, oral surgery and endodontic services to eligible adults from Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Madison and Orange.
For more than three million uninsured adults in Virginia, accessible and affordable dental care remains difficult to receive, Mr. Marino said. The Fauquier Free Clinic has expanded its dental services in recent years.
A date for the 2022 event has yet to be determined.