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.
The Oregon Dental Association is looking for volunteers to help staff the clinic. Click here for more details www.oregondental.org.
Aug 18 2010