FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEST ALLIS, WIS., June 13, 2012 – The Wisconsin Dental Association and WDA Foundation have again teamed up with Special Olympics Wisconsin to identify 50 athletes who will receive needed oral health care at the fourth Mission of Mercy being held June 29 and 30 in Madison.
A team of MOM dentists, dental hygienists and assistants have volunteered specifically to treat the Special Olympians, many of whom have additional medical considerations, on Friday and Saturday. The athletes are 21 – 50 years old and were screened for urgent dental needs at recent Special Olympics competitions held across the state.
Special Olympics Wisconsin provides Healthy Athletes™ Special Smiles oral health screenings at its events three to four times a year, but obtaining follow-up dental treatment can be difficult for the athletes.
“The WDA was proud to pilot this cooperative effort to help get Special Olympians out of dental pain and infection at last year’s Mission of Mercy near Wausau,” MOM State Committee Co-Chair Dr. Gene Shoemaker, a general dentist in Waukesha, Wis., said.
“The WDA is leading the nation in providing needed care to these special patients at Mission of Mercy events,” he noted.
“We are ecstatic to partner with the WDA on this venture for the second year,” Special Olympics Wisconsin Director of Athlete Wellness Initiatives Melissa Schoenbrodt explained. “Our athletes’ oral health is critical to their success both on and off the playing field.”
The 2012 WDA Mission of Mercy will be held in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way. Doors to this large-scale, charitable, dental clinic open at 5:30 a.m. both days. There are no appointments with care provided on a first-come, first-service basis to about1,750 patients daily. Early arrival is encouraged, because available patient slots usually fill by 10 a.m.
Children and adults who have limited financial resources or are otherwise unable to visit a dental office and without a medically-compromising condition, such as extremely high blood pressure or severe disabilities that prohibits safely receiving care, are welcome.
No photo identification, Social Security number or other personal documentation is required. A parent or guardian must accompanychildren under 18. Spanish and Hmong interpreters will be available to assist patients.
This will be the largest charitable dental clinic ever staged in the United States. At least 1,500 volunteer dentists, dental hygienists and assistants, Marquette University School of Dentistry students and community memberswill work at the “mega” MOM to provide $1.75 million in cleanings, fillings, extractions, partial dentures and personal oral hygiene education.
Major financial and in-kind support is 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 and Dane County Dental Society.
More than 70 organizations and individuals will make 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 which includes one day each for setup and cleanup.
For every dollar received, WDA dentists and other MOM volunteers donate $6 – $8 in care. More than 5,600 people have received $2.8 million in free careat WDA Mission of Mercy events since 2009.
“As doctors of oral health, dentists have the training and education to relieve pain and make people well — but we can’t solve the state’s dental crisis alone,” Neenah general dentist and WDA President Dr. Steve Stoll said.
“We are committed to working with patients and policymakers on a bipartisan basis to implement viable ‘healthy choices’ for removing barriers to dental care for all Wisconsin residents,” he added.