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Michigan Dentists Treat Needy during Second Mission of Mercy

June 19, 2014

Dentists in Michigan provided care to more than 850 people during the state’s second Mission of Mercy, a two-day event where people in need receive free dental care.

The 100-chair dental clinic was held May 30-31 at Ferris State University’s Wink Arena in Big Rapids, according to the Michigan Dental Association (MDA), which cosponsored the event with the MDA Foundation.

Dentists provided more than $847,000 in free dental care during 4,742 procedures, according to the MDA.

About half of the procedures involved were for extensive treatments, such as oral surgery and restorative care.

“Michigan dentists routinely help patients in great need, but this event really illustrated the scope of the need to continue to expand access to dental care,” said Dr. Stephen Harris, a Farmington Hills dentist and chairman of the Michigan MOM. “Thankfully, we had a wonderful group of volunteers to help these folks in desperate need of care. But obviously a better approach is for Michigan to adequately fund the health programs that can alleviate the human suffering we saw here over the two days.”

Dentists and other volunteers also taught patients about the importance of good oral hygiene, a healthy diet and routine preventive dental care, all of which can prevent many of the severe problems that were treated during the event.

Major sponsors include Delta Dental, Benco Dental, Henry Schein, Mecosta County Community Foundation, the Michigan Department of Community Health and Patterson Dental.