ADA Press Release
Mission of Mercy free dental clinic to treat 1,000 underserved patients in New Orleans
November 3 clinic to draw hundreds of dental professional volunteers
The American Dental Association, the Louisiana Dental Association and America’s Dentists Care Foundation will host a Mission of Mercy (MOM) charity dental clinic on Sunday, November 3 at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, where hundreds of volunteer dentists and dental team members will treat about 1,000 patients.
Mardi Gras World will be transformed into a 100-chair dental clinic treating adults and children who have limited financial resources or are otherwise unable to visit a dental office. Patients will be treated from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The event includes more than 1,000 volunteer dentists, hygienists, assistants, students and community workers from across the state of Louisiana and the nation. More than 200 Wolves on the Prowl, from the alumni association of Loyola University New Orleans, will spend Saturday setting up the massive clinic. Major sponsors of the event include Arm & Hammer ®, CareCredit ™, Colgate ®, Henry Schein Cares and the Patterson Foundation.
There is no doubt America faces an oral health crisis. This year, more than 75 million Americans won’t visit a dentist even though nearly half of people over 30 suffer from some form of gum disease and an estimated 25 percent of children under the age of five already have cavities.
Caring for those in need is woven into the fabric of the dental profession. The ADA estimates that dentists provided $2.16 billion in free or discounted care in 2007 alone. Nationwide, MOM programs have delivered approximately $73 million in free care to 131,000 people since 2008. Dental volunteers in Louisiana have donated more than $8 million since 1987 through the Dental Lifeline Network.
But charity is not a sustainable health care system. Earlier this year the ADA launched Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference, a nationwide campaign aimed at aggressively addressing the dental health crisis. The campaign comprises numerous initiatives that fall into three broad categories: providing care now to people suffering with untreated disease; strengthening and expanding the public/private safety net; and bringing oral health education and prevention into every community. (Visit www.ada.org/8585.aspx for more information on Action for Dental Health.)
Information about dental health in Louisiana:
This crisis has been felt particularly hard in Louisiana where lack of dental insurance has made it difficult for the state’s population to get regular access to dentists.
- A third of the state’s adult population has not had their teeth cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist within the past year.
- Nearly a quarter of all Louisiana seniors have lost all of their teeth.
- 41 percent of Louisianans living near or below the poverty line there have lost teeth due to neglect. This is 3 percent higher than the national average.
- 42 percent of Louisiana children between the ages of 6-8 have untreated tooth decay compared with the national average of 28 percent.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
Mardi Gras World is located at 1380 Port of New Orleans Place, New Orleans.
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit www.ada.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website www.MouthHealthy.org.