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California, Connecticut Dentists Provide Free Care to People in Need

May 14, 2014

Volunteer dentists provided donated care to nearly 4,300 people during separate events held in two states on April 25-26.

The two-day Missions of Mercy (MOM) events join dentists in mobile, community clinics to provide free care for the underserved. The concept started in Virginia and has spread throughout the United States.

Since 2000, Missions of Mercy events have served about 143,000 patients in 28 states.

CDA Cares Shines a Spotlight on Dentists’ Good Work in Communities

Dentists in California provided about $1.5 million in donated dental care to 1,959 people during the California Dental Association Foundation’s two-day dental clinic, CDA Cares, which was held at the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo.

Since the program started in 2012, CDA Cares has provided $7.5 million in dental services at no charge to just more than 10,000 people throughout the state.

The event targets the underserved, including the working poor, who were stripped of adult Denti-Cal benefits in 2009, according to CDA President James Stephens, D.D.S. Starting May 1, the state partially restored adult dental benefits, but the program remains chronically underfunded.

“While the state has taken a positive first step with the partial restoration of adult Denti-Cal, the need for an adequately funded dental safety net is evident at each of these events,” said Dr. Stephens.

He noted California needs a state dental director, as proposed in the governor’s revised budget, to develop and manage an oral health plan that includes prevention programs and federal grant funding to support the dental health of Californians.

Connecticut Hosts Seventh Annual Mission of Mercy Event

Connecticut dentists provided care during about 2,300 patient visits at the state’s seventh annual Mission of Mercy event, which was held at the XL Center, a large venue in Hartford.

The Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach, which hosts the events in concert with the Connecticut State Dental Association, estimates dentists provided about $1.6 million in donated care.

Recognizing that good oral health starts before birth, organizers this year partitioned off a separate section for pregnant women on the clinic floor. Dental services for pregnant patients included cleanings, extractions, fillings, X-rays, fluoride treatments, limited interim partial dentures and limited root canals.

This year, Mission of Mercy events are planned in 28 states.