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Action for Dental Health

Iowa Dentists Provide Care to More than 1,000 People at Seventh Annual Mission of Mercy

October 8, 2014

Nearly 170 dentists in Iowa provided care to more than 1,000 underserved people during the state’s seventh annual Mission of Mercy, which was held Sept. 26-27 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo, according to Kathy Salisbury, program manager for the Iowa Dental Foundation.

Missions of Mercy are one- and two-day events where dentists converge in large-scale, temporary clinics to provide free services for the nation’s most underserved people. At many events, people camp outside convention centers, schools and temporary dental field hospitals housed in tents or even aircraft hangers overnight to secure a spot for treatment.

The number of people treated this year was almost identical to the number treated during Iowa’s first Mission of Mercy, which was also held in Waterloo, she said. Iowa Missions of Mercy typically average about 1,300 to 1,400 patients per year, some of whom travel long distances to receive care. The care free provided was valued at more than $770,000.

Services include cleanings, extractions, and fillings, as well as a limited number of root canals and partial dentures.

The Mission of Mercy program is administered by the America’s Dentists Care Foundation.  Thousands of ADA member dentists participate in Missions of Mercy every year, most of them at events organized by their state dental associations and affiliated organizations.