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Purpose: To combine the donated services of dentists, dental hygienists, and lay volunteers to provide free dental
clinics nationwide to reduce health risks
and suffering for those who cannot
afford dental care.
Description - The Mission of Mercy is
a one or two-day clinic in which
portable dental stations are set up in a
large public arena and dental screenings
and services are provided at no charge
to those who attend. The event also
requires one day for set-up and another
for cleanup. Historically, demand for
these clinics has been so intense that
individuals often stand in line, as early
as midnight, to receive the services.
Usually the event is so large and the
lines so long that communities often
provide liquids and meals for those in
line to avoid medical emergencies. The
most common dental procedures are
extractions, fillings and cleanings for
adults and fillings and sealants for children, but some dentists do arrange
to provide restorative work when the patients are younger and the teeth are
cosmetically or functionally important.
In addition, if someone is missing a few
teeth, plastic partial dentures are constructed. Dentists and dental
hygienists in the state (and nearby
states) are recruited to volunteer their services. The host community is asked
to provide several hundred volunteers to
help with support services. Most often
partners in the project include the local
health department and hospital. Local
law enforcement usually assists with
crowd control. The state’s School of
Dentistry and department of Health and
Human Services also assists in the setup
of the clinic.
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