HEALTH

Alexandria dentist gives free dental care for a day

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Most people hate going to the dentist, and not many people would line up for the chance to go.

Dr. Qais Musmar at work.

But that's exactly what happened today in Fairfax County. And Friday's long line shows a great need for affordable dental care.

Dr. Qais Musmar says he had one big objective Friday. "To simply get people out of pain. It's amazing how many people we saw today that were in pain and have been in pain for months."

But it's the economic pain that led Dr. Musmar to take action.

For one day, he decided to open up his office in Alexandria - at a cost of about $100,000 - to anyone in need of free dental care.

"I think people are now more in need now than ever," Dr. Musmar says.

James Lewis of Alexandria is like so many who were waiting to see the doctor. Dental insurance is a luxury he just can't afford.

"I'm working, but it's still rough on me," Lewis says. "People just don't have it these days"

The office opened at 8 a.m., but by 6 a.m. there was a line around the corner. People were waiting three to four hours to get dental care, but they say it's worth it.

No matter the language, no matter the reason for the visit, no pateint was turned away.

And most important to Dr. Musmar, everyone he saw enjoyed their trip to the dentist.

"They're coming in with pain and walking out happy," Dr. Musmar says.

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