CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Cuts to Medicaid in Illinois mean patients won't get help paying for dental work unless it's an emergency.
That's why a large number of folks opened wide Friday at SIU's second annual "Give adults a smile day."
Dental hygienist students from SIU and John A. Logan College along with volunteer dentists and professional hygienists spent the day offering free dental exams, X-rays, and teeth cleanings to folks who wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise.
Organizers say last year it was only the uninsured showing up for a check-up. This year, a lot of Medicaid patients came in as well.
"It's been severely cut," said Jennifer Sherry, president of Southern Illinois Dental Hygienists Society. "There's a lot of services taken out in the state of Illinois. So anything we can do to help serve those patients is going to be very beneficial."
Last year, "Give adults a smile day" only served 51 patients. This year ,there were more than 80 scheduled appointments with more smiles in waiting hoping for help.