JOPLIN, Mo. — Although it usually doesn’t hurt, getting your teeth cleaned may not be the most fun thing to do. But it can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in dental bills years down the road.

But what if you can’t afford it?

One area organization might be able to help.

“We have patients who say they haven’t had their teeth cleaned in 30 years,” said Stephanie Brady, Exec. Dir., Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri.

There are a lot of people who, for one reason or another, can’t afford the luxury of preventive dentistry like teeth cleaning let alone basic dental care, a good example is Matthew Michael.

“What are you here for today?” asked KSN’s Stuart Price, reporting.

“Just get some teeth cleaned and getting prepped up and ready for getting a tooth pulled later,” said Matthew Michael, Community Clinic Client.

The Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri has been the recipient of a year long grant from the Delta Dental Foundation. That funding has allowed the clinic to start offering a teeth cleaning program for people ages 12 and up.

“For years we’ve needed dental hygiene assistance and we’ve always been able to provide dental extraction’s but we’ve never been able to provide dental hygiene, those dental cleanings for patients and we’ve received a 15 thousand dollar grant from the Delta Dental Foundation and that allows us to be able to provide the dental cleanings for patients,” said Brady.

Stephanie Brady says the segment of the population that benefits most from this program is the working poor.

“Our patients make too much money for Missouri Medicaid and they can’t quite swing marketplace insurance,” she said.

Brady says the program can provide free cleanings for as many as 500 people.

“With the cost of insurance’s and the cost of dental work, it’s a life saver, and quite many cases actually really is because if you don’t take care of your teeth, it can kill you,” said Michael.

If you want more information about receiving that service for yourself or your child, just go to the clinic located at 701 South Joplin, to sign up for Monday through Thursday between the hours of 8:30 and 4:15.