WEST ALLIS, WIS., July 1, 2013 – An estimated $1.18 million in charitable dental care was provided to 1,977 children and adults during 2,072 patient visits at the fifth Wisconsin Dental Association and WDA Foundation Mission of Mercy held June 28 and 29 at Walworth County’s Badger High School in Lake Geneva. Patients included 38 Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes.
Individuals and families facing barriers to dental care sought treatment at this large-scale charitable event. The first patient arrived more than 36 hours in advance and slept in her vehicle Wednesday night in the Walmart parking lot before setting up a lawn chair outside the clinic entrance at 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
Clinic doors opened at 5:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday with care concluding by 5 p.m. both days. A total of 8,016 dental procedures were performed, including 1,450 fillings, 1,846 teeth extracted, 719 cleanings, 823 sealant/fluoride treatments and 32 root canals. Several dental labs worked with volunteer technicians to create 100 partial dentures.
The WDA Mission of Mercy is a memorable experience for many. James from Lake Geneva was the WDA’s 10,000th MOM patient. After several extractions and getting a partial denture in the front, he exclaimed, “I’ve got my smile ability back!” James returned Sunday as a volunteer to help dismantle the clinic.
This year’s 1,224 volunteers came from 187 Wisconsin communities. They included 228 WDA dentists, along with dental hygienists and assistants, Marquette University School of Dentistry students and faculty, Spanish and American Sign Language translators and many general volunteers.
At least 166 organizations and individuals contributed $190,000 in tax-deductible financial and in-kind donations to help defray costs associated with dental equipment and facility rental, supplies, pharmaceuticals and food for volunteers and patients. On average, $6 to $8 in care is donated for every $1 received.
More than 11,300 children and adults have received in excess of $5.8 million in care at WDA Mission of Mercy events since 2009.
“Dental professionals are proud to be of service, but charity care is not the solution. The WDA has proposed ‘Healthy Choices’ initiatives to address the situation, and we stand ready to assist state lawmakers in developing and implementing policies that reduce barriers to dental care for Badger State residents of all ages,” said WDA President Dr. Timothy Durtsche, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon from La Crosse, Wis.