New dental program provides free care for homeless, uninsured

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There’s a new free dental clinic in the city of Syracuse, attached to the Amaus Health Services clinic at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse. The idea is to offer basic dental care to the homeless and people who have no dental insurance.

The first patient is a Syracuse man named Barry. He says his mouth is a mess after years of neglect.

The dental office is equipped for simple procedures like extractions and fillings.

"Can you imagine some of those cities in Europe after being bombed by the Allies?" he said. "That’s kind of what my teeth look like -- how the South Bronx looked in the '70s. It’s bad, and it’s my problem. My fault."

Enter Dr. David Dasher, a retired dentist who most recently worked at the Syracuse Community Health Center.

“I’m Dr. Dasher, why don’t you come in and get paperwork filled out and we’ll figure out where you are and where you want to go,” he said.

The clinic is a remade office that is attached to the cathedral, and it fronts on South Warren Street. It’s simple, but well equipped, with a basic blue dental chair, sterilizer, hand held X-ray machine and portable drill, all donated or purchased with the help of a Community Foundation grant.

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