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Mission of Mercy free dental clinic to treat 1,000 underserved patients in San Antonio

October 12 clinic to draw hundreds of dental professional volunteers

October 07, 2014

Contact Information:
E-mail: mediarelations@ada.org (Journalists) or Contact ADA (All Others)

San Antonio, Oct. 7, 2014 - The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center will be transformed into a 100-chair dental clinic on Sunday, October 12 to treat about 1,000 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.

This Mission of Mercy (MOM) event comes to San Antonio as part of ADA 2014: America’s Dental Meeting, which brings about 21,000 attendees to the city.  The MOM event includes more than 1,000 volunteer dentists, hygienists, assistants, students and community workers from across the state of Texas and the nation.  Almost 30 sponsors provided financial and in-kind support. The event is held in cooperation with the ADA Foundation and the San Antonio District Dental Society.

There is no doubt that America faces a dental 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. According to 2012 U.S. Census data, 17.2 percent of Texans live in poverty. For a family of three, that is income less than $18.500 per year.

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 $88 million in free care to 151,000 people since 2008. The 2012 Mission of Mercy held in San Antonio was the largest health care event the city’s history, which treated 1,183 patients at an estimate of $732,311 worth of free dental treatment.

But charity is not a sustainable health care system. In 2013, 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.

The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is located at 200 E. Market Street, San Antonio.

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San Antonio District Dental Society
The San Antonio District Dental Society (SADDS) is the premier professional dental society for organized dentistry in southwest Texas.  The purpose of the society is to be the one voice for dentistry and the premier dental resource for dentists and dental patients in Greater San Antonio. SADDS promotes excellence, ethics, advocacy, community service and education. The city’s history is represented in the SADDS logo which depicts the Alamo within the seal for dentistry.  Established in 1913, the SADDS representation within the tripartite system extends over a large geographical region representing 14 South Texas counties.  The society is unique because many of its members come from counties with limited dental care and with the majority of general dentistry and specialty care provided within San Antonio and surrounding suburbs.

San Antonio is a large metropolitan area, with a major medical center and dental school.  The city is also a popular convention destination, regularly hosting the Texas Dental Association and the American Dental Association and the American Association of Dental School Meetings, among others.  The rural and poor areas of the district have prompted the district to sponsor a full offering of outreach and community oral health service programs.  The district is especially proud of its relationships with young dentists, including them in the society’s monthly meetings and governance structure and maintaining an active mentoring program.

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 159,000 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 ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org

About the ADA Foundation

As dentistry's premier philanthropic and charitable organization, the ADA Foundation is a catalyst for uniting people and organizations to make a difference through better oral health. The ADA Foundation provides educational grants including dental student scholarships and affiliated dental scholarships; a variety of grants related to access to care and oral health outreach, including grants related to Give Kids A Smile® and charitable assistance through its Disaster Assistance Grant Program and Relief Grant Program. The ADA Foundation also provides funding for the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center (formerly the Paffenbarger Research Center) in Gaithersburg, MD. For more information about the ADA Foundation, visit www.adafoundation.org.