Friday, August 2, 2013

Two Day Pop-Up Clinic off to a strong start with hundreds receiving care

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At 7:30 am this morning, Jose was walking out of the gym of St. Vincent after having a root canal completed. Emily, who was relieved to have no cavities, was waiting on her mother, who was having her wisdom teeth removed. They were some of the first patients to be treated as part of a two day ‘pop-up’ dental clinic providing free care to as many adults as possible who did not have insurance or the means to pay for regular dental care. 

Welcome to the Mid-Maryland Mission of Mercy, an event co-sponsored and organized by Catholic Charities and the Maryland Office on Oral Health, and made possible thanks to hundreds of volunteer dentists and hygienists. Patients started lining up the Thursday night, bringing with them plenty of reading material and sleeping bags. 

By the time the doors opened at 6 am, the line stretched more than 200 people deep. And that’s only the line for people who hadn’t pre-registered. 

The Mission of Mercy is a service model created in Virginia by a dental society who saw an alarming need for adult care. It has proven to be incredibly popular as a way for local dentists to triage cases of dental need for adults, for whom there are few resources available.

Patients are able to get standard dental cleanings, cavity fillings, tooth removal and even endontics (root canals). A few numbers to give you a sense of how big this event is:
  • 50 Dental Chairs in one gymnasium
  • 400 volunteers (including dentists, hygienists and support volunteers)
  • A goal of serving 700 to 800 patients over two days
  • Total dental care provided estimated to be around $750,000
Local media coverage!