July 28, 2016
by Minnesota Dental Association
The Minnesota Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Foundation, in partnership with the North Dakota Dental Association and the North Dakota Dental Foundation, hosted its Minnesota Mission of Mercy on July 22 and 23 in Moorhead, providing free dental care to children and adults who face barriers to accessing dental care. This fifth Mission of Mercy event held in Minnesota delivered free dental care valued at over $1 million. The event’s signature sponsor was again Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, with a leadership gift of $150,000 for the fifth consecutive year of partnership.
The Concordia College Memorial Auditorium was transformed into a giant dental clinic that included 75 dental chairs, 16 sterilization units, and 7 x-ray units. Over the course of two days there were 1,391 patient visits, resulting in over 7,655 total dental procedures, including 1,003 fillings, 1,394 extractions, 1,418 x-rays, 292 cleanings, 81 partial dentures, and 59 root canals. Patients treated included those from Moorhead and Fargo, as well as many who drove from other areas of the state and even other states.
Over 800 volunteers from all over Minnesota and North Dakota were used to staff the two-day event and included dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental therapists, translators and hundreds of community volunteers who served as greeters, registration assistants, and patient ambassadors. In addition to the two clinic days, volunteers also donated countless hours to setting up and tearing down the massive dental clinic at Concordia.
Mission of Mercy events focus on providing dental care to underserved populations that face barriers to obtaining dental care, many suffering from long-term pain and even infection from untreated dental disease. “This year’s event in Moorhead had long and steady lines of people each day, clearly showing that there are still thousands of people who cannot obtain the dental care they need,” stated Dr. Peter Cannon, a practicing dentist and president of the Minnesota Dental Association. “It is unfortunate that events like this need to occur, but until a long-term solution can be found, dental professionals will continue to work together to ensure access to dental care to those most in need.”
The Minnesota Dental Foundation raised over $220,000 in donations to cover the cost of the event.
The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. Learn more at: www.mndental.org.