Oregon Dental Association Offers Free Clinic

The event will be held Nov. 22-23 at the Oregon Convention Center and is expected to draw 2,000 participants
August 18, 2010 -- The Oregon Dental Association (ODA) is organizing the state’s first Mission of Mercy, a two-day clinic providing free dental care to uninsured children and adults.
The clinic will take place at the Oregon Convention Center on Nov. 22-23. Approximately 1,500 volunteer dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants will participate and offer teeth cleanings, some extractions, root canals and denture repair. A mobile pharmacy will offer pain medication, and there’ll also be patient education workshops. People will receive free toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and other dental items.
Upwards of 2,000 people are expected to attend. The clinic is open to anyone who is uninsured, underinsured, or unable to access dental care – on a first-come first-serve basis.
There’s no advance registration. If there’s an overflow crowd, people will be referred to low-income dental clinics in their communities, and also be given referrals for treatments such as wisdom teeth extractions that cannot be provided at the site.   
The basic purpose is to relieve people from pain and prevent dental decay problems from arising, said Bill Zepp, the ODA’s executive director. Because people lack access to dental care, they frequently have cavities, soft teeth and gingivitis, which go untreated, “All dental disease is preventable,” Zepp said. “No one has to have dental disease.”
The Oregon Dental Association expects to spend upwards of $125,000 for portable dental stations and other equipment, and may turn this into an annual event. “We want to get this one under our belts first,” Zepp said. 
According to the Pew Report on the States, Oregon received a “C” for providing good dental care, yet only met four out of eight benchmarks. They include fluoridating public drinking water, implementing dental programs in schools, including dental care in state Medicaid plans and improving reimbursement rates to dentists.
The first Mission of Mercy took place in Virginia 10 years ago. Since then, over 40 clinics have been held in 13 states, providing dental care to more than 30,000 people.

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The Oregon Dental Association is looking for volunteers to help staff the clinic. Click here for more details www.oregondental.org.

For related stories on Oregon dentists click here.


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I am thrilled to see a dental clinic for those who need dental care in Portland. But! What about those of us in Salem? I have for months now, been trying unsuccessfully to find low - cost dental care. A free/low cost clinic like the one in Portland is needed here in Salem too! I, like many, have serious dental problems ( 3 abscesses & teeth literally falling out of my head!) & am not able to get to Portland - it's a long walk! Maybe I am missing something with regard to a dental clinic in Salem: have heard it rumored there is a dental van, but have never seen it! *sigh* All I really want is to be able to smile again & not have to stress about my rotten teeth or swollen gums! :-))

Why is it that dental health is so unimportant? I feel like I have been reduced to grime, is being poor illegal AND a handicap? Everybody deserve good dental, I would pay the cost back, because it would help land me a job if I felt better about myself. Is it any wonder why we go out of the country for services and other goods?