- Wisconsin legislators comment on MOM, dental access
- Patient education
- How a MOM site is selected
The America’s Dentists Care Foundation launched the first Mission of Mercy in Virginia in 2000. Today, MOM events can be found nationwide. More than 15,000 children and adults have now received in excess of $10.4 million in donated care at WDA Mission of Mercy events since 2009.
A successful MOM event focuses on:
- Providing free, critical dental care with a high priority on treating patients in pain and with infections
- Raising public awareness of the barriers to dental care faced by low-income adults and children
- Challenging patients, policymakers and dental professionals to work together to make viable and bipartisan “Healthy Choices” that will improve Wisconsin residents’ oral health
The Wisconsin MOM program provides care to anyone who has difficulty getting to a dentist. Those who show up for care (children and adults) and don’t have any medically- compromising condition that would prohibit them from receiving care are seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
One goal of the WDA Mission of Mercy is to challenge patients, policymakers and dental professionals to work together to make viable and bipartisan “Healthy Choices” that will improve Wisconsin residents’ oral health.
State lawmakers and others who volunteered at MOM 2018 include:
- Rep. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville)
- Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee)
- Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee)
- DSPS Secretary Laura Gutierrez
State lawmakers who toured MOM 2018 include:
- Mayor Tom Barrett (D-Milwaukee)
- Josh Hoisington (staff for Rep. Sanfilippo- R-New Berlin)
- Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger)
- Rep. Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield)
- Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton)
- Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee)
- Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc)
- Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers
An important element of the Wisconsin MOM program is patient education. Education is the most cost-effective way to reduce oral disease. A special program helps educate patients about the importance of good daily oral hygiene practices, healthy diet and routine preventive dental care.
Individuals seeking care at WDA Mission of Mercy will visit a patient education area. It will have a prominent place at the beginning of the process and will be staffed by a team dedicated to educating and encouraging patients to make changes in their lives to improve their oral health.
Patient education at MOM has three components – a questionnaire asking about at-risk behaviors, a poster area matched to each behavior and a brushing and flossing instruction area. The entire process will take patients no more than 15 minutes to complete.
They learn about the negative effects of soda, sugary beverages and tobacco products, the link between dental health and overall health, oral cancer and more. It’s a fact that personal oral health education ultimately saves money and time in the dentist office.
There are approximately 20 site-selection criteria, including:
- A strong local dental society with dentists interested in helping plan and volunteer
- Local community involvement (e.g., oral health coalition, legislators) to help with recruiting volunteers and fundraising (dollars and in-kind donations)
- A venue that can house a dental treatment project the size of MOM, along with sufficient local hotels and other housing options for 900+ volunteers, the majority of whom travel to the community
For each WDA Mission of Mercy event, funds are needed to help cover dental equipment and facility rental, supplies, pharmaceuticals and food costs. For every $1 in hard-dollar donations we receive, WDA dentists and other MOM volunteers donate $6 – $8 of care.
If you or your organization would like to help us make a difference by making a tax-deductible contribution, please contact Vicki Bohman at [email protected] for more information or send your contribution to:
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 2360
West Allis, WI 53214
*Be sure to include Mission of Mercy in the memo line