Volunteer dentists provide more than half a million dollars in free care at the 8th Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic.
Approximately 500 underserved adults and children received more than $631,000 worth of free dental care on Friday, August 17, thanks to Missouri Dental Association (MDA) and MDA Foundation’s Missouri Mission of Mercy (MOMOM) charity dental clinic in St. Joseph, Mo.
More than 500 volunteers, including dental health professionals and community volunteers, gathered at the Civic Arena to provide free oral health services, including:
- 510 cleanings
- 734 fillings
- 1,228 extractions
- 64 root canals
The MOMOM clinic provides access to dental care for individuals who might not otherwise receive these services. In addition, dental professionals provide all patients with oral health education to help facilitate improved oral health after the event.
“Even in our eighth year, the impact of an event like this continues to wow volunteers and patients, alike,” said Dr. Tim Curry, 2019 MOMOM co-chair. “We met patients who told us about their significant need for oral healthcare, and we worked side by side with volunteers who generously offered this gift to fellow community members. The positive influence of the past 24 hours will be felt in northwest Missouri for some time to come.”
The high volume of patients participating in charitable clinics like MOMOM shows the need for access to oral healthcare as a necessary component of total health.
Missouri’s budget contains only limited funding for some adult dental services, and the current Medicaid system that provides for children’s services is underfunded. Many Missourians are forced to go without preventive care, which often leads to costly emergency treatment.
“The Missouri Dental Association is seeing positive outcomes in this area, thanks to efforts by lawmakers to partially fund adult dental coverage,” says Vicki Wilbers, MDA executive director. “We’re hopeful continued support and leadership will lead to increased access for patients and improved savings for our state.”
The Missouri Mission of Mercy (MOMOM) is a large-scale dental clinic that provides free oral healthcare to patients of five and older who cannot otherwise afford or access care. Since 2003, Mission of Mercy clinics have provided nearly $190 million in dental services to more than 275,000 patients across the country. In Missouri, more than 7,000 dental and general volunteers have provided $7 million in free care to more than 11,000 patients. MOMOM thanks all its sponsors who help make the clinic possible, including benchmark sponsors, Delta Dental of Missouri and Missouri Foundation for Health. A complete list of current sponsors and event information is online at MOMOM.org.