NWTC dental clinic marks 25 years with smiles
GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A dental clinic marked a milestone of smiles Tuesday as volunteers and students recognized 25 years.
The Northeast Wisconsin Technical College's dental clinic is only open one day a week during the academic year because it's completely run by student and volunteer dentists.
Students in their final year are getting invaluable experience.
"The program really gives you the opportunity of having hands-on experience before you go out into the field," said dental assistant student, Emily Melichar.
But for Melichar, the clinic goes beyond just preparing for her career.
She says she enjoys giving back, "I had a lady that was so grateful that we were able to do a partial for them, that they would have teeth there so they could go out for an interview and get them back on their feet. So it's really rewarding."
Program director, Laurie Fischer, says the clinic also provides a service to a portion of the population that may go unnoticed otherwise.
"Most of them are working; they just fall through the cracks. They make too much to qualify for services, such as BadgerCare; they don't earn enough income to provide for anything other than their basic needs of their housing and their groceries," Fischer explains.
Charles Mueller is a general dentist in Allouez. He's volunteered at NWTC's community dental clinic for more than 20 years.
"It's nice to be able to help that part of the public who can't afford dentistry but I really enjoy being with the students," Mueller said.
Over the course of 25 years, the clinic says it has treated more than 2,000 patients.