IL State Dental Society Hosting Two Days of Free Dental Care
Volunteer Dentists Prepared to Treat 1,000 Patients per Day
The Illinois State Dental Society Foundation will host the Mission of Mercy, or “MOM,” at the Gateway Center in Collinsville on July 15-16, 2016. More than 1,000 volunteer dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, dental students and others from throughout Illinois will provide an estimated $1 million in free dental care to patients who would not otherwise have access to necessary treatment.
“We are prepared to see 1,000 patients per day, and hope to accommodate more if we can,” said Dr. Randall Markarian, a Swansea orthodontist who serves as MOM Co-Chair. “In order to treat as many patients in the best way possible, the patient’s priority condition will be served first.”
Here are some important things that prospective patients should know:
- Not all dental services will be available. Emphasis will be on basic dental care—fillings, extractions and cleanings.
- No appointments will be taken.
- No pre-registration is available.
- Care is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Doors will open at 6:00 am.
- There are no income eligibility requirements; anyone can receive treatment.
- No false teeth (dentures) will be made.
- Patients with serious health problems may not be able to receive dental treatment (for example, extremely high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and severe disabilities).
- Patients will not receive all the dental work that is needed; the most critical dental problems will receive priority treatment.
- Recommended items for patients to bring to MOM:
- List of current medications and a one day supply
- Baby supplies for a full day (diapers, formula, etc.)
- Reading glasses (for help in completing paperwork)
- Something to help you pass the time such as reading material, knitting, crossword puzzles, etc.
- Water and snacks
- Sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, umbrella)
If a patient is in severe pain NOW, don’t wait until the Mission of Mercy. Seek treatment immediately!
The Mission of Mercy will serve to highlight the serious problem that many Illinois citizens have in accessing dental care. The event will relieve some suffering, but it won’t solve the problem. Only the Illinois legislature can provide the solution through adequately funding the Medicaid program in Illinois.
“Prevention remains the best plan of action,” adds MOM co-chair Dr. Darryll Beard, a general dentist in Waterloo. “If patients maintain good oral health habits at home, and receive basic dental services and restorative services by a dentist, it drastically reduces the need for expensive emergency room visits and extensive treatment, which typically cost ten times more than if the patient had originally been treated by a dentist.”
More information on the Mission of Mercy event is available at the Illinois State Dental Society Foundation’s website at www.ISDSFoundation.org.