Twenty dentists and over 100 volunteers flocked to Bridge City Middle School Saturday as part of the Smiles on Wheels (SOW) program. The free event brings a MASH like, one day dental clinic mission into rural areas.

Saturday’s program provided 218 patients with $139,000 in free dental care. Some patients started lining up around midnight Friday at the chance to get needed extractions, fillings and cleanings.

Bridge City’s SOW was sponsored by the Texas Dental Association Smiles Foundation, the Stark Foundation and the Houseman Charitable Trust.

“Our goal is to relieve pain and restore smiles,” stated literature provided by Billy Callis.

Patients signed in at the Middle School cafeteria and provided a brief medical background, ensuring they were able to have procedures done. X-rays were taken as part of triage procedures. Extractions or fillings were then performed as needed. Partial plates and flippers were provided to some patients. Cleanings and post care supplies and information was given.

“So much wonderful work was done for so many,” said Thelma Swearingen of Advanced Dental in Bridge City. “It seemed to be a huge undertaking for these volunteers, but everything seemed to be well organized and moved smoothly.”

Since its inception in December 2008 the Texas Dental Association Smiles Foundation has treated more than 2,430 patients with over $1,363,344 in dental care.

There will be a clinic in Jefferson County on Oct. 12 that is expected to treat 1,000 patients.
For more information about TDASF please visit

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.