Please do NOT wait for the WDA Mission of Mercy to seek care for dental pain, as this could signal a serious condition. Click here for a list of low-cost dental clinics and other information.
If dental pain is severe and accompanied by a fever or swelling, go to a hospital emergency room immediately!
WDA Mission of Mercy Patient Info and FAQs
Our goal is to see approximately 1,000 patients per day, but that number will be adjusted depending on the type of care needed and the final number of volunteers.
Tents and grills are not allowed. We encourage you to drink non-alcoholic fluids (water is best) to keep yourself hydrated and eat something while waiting; however, grills and other fires are not allowed.
There is no identification required.
We see patients on a first come, first serve basis so the earlier the better. While we are open until 5 p.m. each day, we stop accepting new patients as soon as we reach capacity for the day. It’s not unheard of at a clinic like this to reach capacity by 10 a.m. or even earlier.
Plan to be at Mission of Mercy for at least several hours. Patients are seen on first-come, first-served basis, so how long it takes depends how many people are ahead of you. The first people into the clinic should be done around 7 a.m. Once you enter the clinic area doors, registration and your initial exam will take approximately 30 minutes. We will have 100 dental chairs, and patients will spend an average of 45 minutes in the treatment chair.
This depends on how many people show up and their physical health. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis until the day’s capacity is met. All patients go through a medical health screening where they must meet requirements for blood pressure, blood-clotting and blood sugar in order to be seen.
We reserve the right to refuse to treat anyone who has signs of intoxication or illegal drug use or is found to be threatening to other patients and/or volunteers.
We do cleanings, fillings, extractions and a limited number of transitional partials for front teeth. Full dentures and denture repairs are not provided on a walk-in basis.
Our goal is to take as many people out of dental pain and treat infections. With that in mind, after your dental exam, recommended treatment will be prioritized. You will be routed to the department treating your top priority and as much work as is needed in one quadrant of your mouth will be done. For example, if you need fillings in three teeth in the upper left side of your mouth more than you need a cleaning, you will be sent to the fillings department. When you are done there and if we are still accepting patients for the day, you may get back in line for additional treatment.
We only use local anesthetic for procedures requiring numbing at the MOM clinic. No nitrous will be onsite.
If the tooth is visible through the gum and accompanied by pain and swelling, then we will extract a wisdom tooth.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide dentures as a walk-in service at this time. We hope to provide this service at future clinics to patients who arrive without any upper and/or lower teeth.
In some circumstances we are able to do a root canal on front teeth. However, the tooth needs to be structurally sound, not require a crown and/or be an anchor tooth for a partial or a bridge.
We will have Spanish, Hmong and American Sign Language interpreters available, as well as a few individuals who speak other languages. Please let a MOM patient greeter or someone in patient registration know if an interpreter is required.
No smoking is allowed on the premises. Once you enter the building you cannot leave without giving up your place in line. No exceptions.
No, we do not ask any questions regarding your situation.
You may wish to bring a lawn chair for outside; chairs are not provided. If bringing young children, be sure to bring diapers and a change of clothes to keep them comfortable. There is no onsite coat or package check, so anything you bring will need to be carried with you or returned to your car before entering the building.
Remember, you will not be allowed to leave and re-enter the building without losing your place in line. The building will be air conditioned, so if you chill easily bring a sweater or light jacket to help keep you warm.
Everyone will receive a numbered wristband and a nametag. You will be asked how you would like to be referred to while in the clinic. You may choose to go by your first name, your last name and salutation (i.e. Mr. Jones) or a nickname you decided on for the day. Whatever you choose is fine. The wristbands help ensure first-come, first-served order is followed.
Upon entering the building, you will be asked several survey questions prior to treatment. Your responses are tracked in the computer and no one will see them once submitted. The information you provide will help us track demographics about the clinic’s patients which, in turn, helps us receive grants for future MOM events. After that you will complete a patient registration form then go through a patient education area. Your next stop will be medical triage .
In medical triage, you will be asked about your medical history and have your blood pressure taken. In some instances you may need to have your blood clotting and/or blood sugar levels tested. Providing these readings are all in line, you will proceed to dental triage for an oral exam. A dentist will look over your teeth and determine what work needs to be done and in what priority.
Next you will be taken to routing where another dentist will look over the recommended treatment priorities and compare them to each department’s availability to determine what work you will have done. Depending on what work is to be done, you may be sent to have an X-ray taken. Once any needed X-rays are taken, you will be escorted to the appropriate department, checked in and asked to have a seat in the specific waiting area. Here you will be seen on a first-come, first-served using the number provided to you in routing. Depending on the number of people in front of you, you could wait for several hours in the department.
If you are receiving a cleaning, you will go from the waiting area directly into the treatment chair. If you are having fillings, extractions or a root canal, you will first go to a general numbing area to receive local anesthetic before going into a treatment chair. Once the work has been done, you will be escorted to the patient exit area where you will receive a kit with toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to take home. If other family or friends accompanied you to the clinic, you can reconnect with them in the designated meeting place which will be right outside the clinic’s patient exit.
For your safety as well as for that of our volunteers, at no time should you walk unescorted on the clinic floor. There are numerous hazards in a working dental clinic where over 1,000 people will be busy at any one time. Patient ambassadors will be available to assist you in getting food, water or making trips to the restroom.
Licensed dentists, including specialists, and dental hygienists together with dental assistants provide the majority of care. Dental students from Marquette University School of Dentistry, under supervision of Marquette faculty members or school approved preceptors, may also provide care. Dental students will be identified by their alternate color scrub top.
We do not have any narcotics onsite. If warranted, an antibiotic or non-prescription pain medicine will be given to you onsite. In rare cases after extractions, we will provide a written prescription for other medications to be filled at a pharmacy.
No. Everyone providing care and helping out at the clinic is a volunteer. No one is being paid.
We are very grateful for the numerous sponsors and donors that provide either cash or in-kind donations to make this event possible.
Yes, providing the legal guardian/caregiver accompanies them and authorizes care.
Yes, providing the patient is able to be moved into a treatment chair either on their own or with assistance.
Contact Special Olympics Director of Wellness Initiatives Melissa Schoenbrodt at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Visit the Volunteer page on WDA.org. Volunteering is not a requirement in order to receive care nor does it assure a place in line.
It’s the smiles – not the miles – that make it a mission!