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PORTLAND -- Hundreds of dentists and other volunteers helped people who lack the means to pay for dental care at the Mission of Mercy in Portland Monday.

For the second year in a row the Oregon Dental Association has held the free event. The goal this year is to provide dental services for as many as 2,000 people in need over two days at the Oregon Convention Center.

Dental professionals provided everything from teeth cleanings and cavity fillings to extractions and root canals. Some even received partial dentures to cover missing teeth.

We re seeing the working poor, people that maybe work just a couple of days a week, people who don t have insurance, people who just don t have the opportunity for dental care at all, said event chair Dr. Jill Price, DMD.

Nina Etier of Portland waited in line for help with her teeth.

It s awesome how they all get together for the people who can t afford it, she said. I probably would have done it a long time ago if I had the money to do so. It s a beautiful thing for the holidays.

Potential patients waited in line overnight for help; the doors opened for registration at 4 a.m.

Debbie Kryer came in from Oregon City, and said the wait was worth it. She used to have dental health care benefits, but said now she does not.

I got a root canal done, I got a filling done, all for free from the volunteers, she said. How great is that?

Registration was again scheduled for 4 a.m. Tuesday and handled on a first come, first served basis.

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