ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — More than 1,000 dental volunteers from across the state made their way to downtown Rockford Friday for a two-day event to provide free dental care for the needy.

Patients lined up early at the UW Health Sports Factory, at 305 S. Madison, for the free exams, cleanings, fillings, and extractions.

“It’s our way of being able to give back to the community and to do something to support those in real need,” said Dr. Randall Markarian. “There just aren’t enough safety net programs to help out people with their dental needs. So, this is what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to provide some degree of a safety net.”

The event was put on by the Illinois State Dental Society Foundation’s Mission of Mercy.

Appointments are first-come, first-served and resume again Saturday morning at 6 a.m.