FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEST ALLIS, WIS., July 2, 2012 – A record $1.75 million in charitable dental care was provided to 3,043 children and adults during 3,595 patient visits at the fourth Wisconsin Dental Association and WDA Foundation Mission of Mercy held June 29 and 30 at the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.
Individuals and families facing barriers to care on a daily basis sought treatment at this event – the largest charitable dental clinic ever staged in the United States. The first patient arrived 21 hours in advance and slept in a lawn chair overnight outside of the clinic entrance. Doors opened at 5:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday with care concluding around 5:30 p.m. both days.
Patients included 31 Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes, three of whom visited MOM on both Friday and Saturday to have their extensive dental needs addressed.
A total 13,114 dental procedures were performed, including 2,567 fillings, 2,822 teeth extracted, 1,205 cleanings and 80 root canals. Several dental labs worked with volunteer technicians to create 153 partial dentures.
The WDA Mission of Mercy is a very memorable experience for volunteers and patients alike, as reflected in this comment from Consuelo who travelled from Racine to get care in Madison: “I will be able to smile without covering my mouth.”
Among the estimated 1,810 volunteers from 222 Wisconsin communities making this year’s MOM possible were at least 395 dentists, along with dental hygienists and assistants, Marquette University School of Dentistry students, Spanish, Hmong and American Sign Language translators and general helpers.
“Dental professionals do serve to make a difference in communities, but charity and emergency room care are expensive, limited in effectiveness and treatments of last resort,” said Neenah general dentist and WDA President Dr. Steve Stoll.
Major financial and in-kind support was provided by Delta Dental of Wisconsin, Henry Schein Dental, Meriter, Patterson Dental, Tellier Foundation, Alliant Energy Center, Epic, Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, UW Health, Culvers (Todd Drive location), Dane County Dental Society and Group One Marketing.
More than 100 organizations and individualsmade tax-deductible financial and in-kind donations to help cover $250,000 in costs for dental equipment and facility rental, supplies, pharmaceuticals and food for this major charitable dental care event that included one day each for setup and cleanup.
For every dollar received, WDA dentists and other MOM volunteers donate $6 – $8 in care. As of today, more than 8,600 people have received more than $4.6 million in free care at the four WDA Mission of Mercy events held since 2009.
“Oral health is critical to overall health and ensuring residents have proper dental care is important to our state economically and socially. The WDA has proposed viable, bipartisan ‘Healthy Choices’ for reducing barriers to dental care across our state. We want to work with lawmakers and patients in making dental health a priority for all Wisconsinites,” Stoll said.
Visit WDA.org for Mission of Mercy photos, patient comments, volunteer testimonials, videos and media coverage from this latest large-scale, charitable dental care event in Wisconsin.