Dentists from across Pennsylvania serve nearly 1,800
patients at two-day free dental clinic in Philadelphia
of dentists, hygienists, dental team members, dental students and
community volunteers recently served approximately 1,800 patients from
underserved areas in the Philadelphia region at a two-day free dental
clinic held at The Liacouras Center.
The MOM-n-PA event, a
“Mission of Mercy” free dental clinic, was held May 31 and June 1 on the
arena floor of the Liacouras Center, which was transformed into a
full-service dental clinic with 120 dental chairs. Patients from
underserved areas received a variety of oral health services, including
cleanings, fillings, extractions, restorations and partial
MOM-n-PA Chairman Dr. Gary Davis, a dentist from
Shippensburg, Pa., said patients overwhelmingly gave high ratings to the
event during exit interviews. He related a story about a woman who
tearfully thanked him for a partial denture, saying she is no longer
afraid to smile.
“She said, ‘Finally, I can get a picture taken
with my family, with the kids.’ She was so happy about that,” Davis
said. “So, we are changing lives here.”
Dr. Bruce Terry, a dentist
from Phoenixville, Pa, said the long lines of patients seeking free
dental care shows there is a great need for oral health care in urban
areas, as well as rural areas. Terry said there is a need for more
federal and state funding to ensure that patients do not fall through
“There are a lot of dentists out there, but
unfortunately Medicaid doesn’t cover a lot of procedures anymore,” Terry
said. “There is a big need to find financial support to help people.”
Dr. Renee Fennell-Dempsey, a dentist from West Philadelphia, noted that
it took nearly 1,000 volunteers to make MOM-n-PA a success.
Fennell-Dempsey thanked the volunteers for their dedication and service,
and she urged others to get involved in future events.
“You do not
have to be a dentist or a dental hygienist to volunteer. We need
volunteers to help the patients fill out forms. We need translators to
help patients who do not speak English. There is a lot to do at a free
dental clinic,” Fennell-Dempsey said.
Davis estimated that
dentists gave approximately $1 million in free dental services during
the two-day dental clinic. He added that the cost of renting the arena,
the equipment and other services to conduct the two-day clinic would run
approximately $200,000. He noted that the MOM-n-PA received generous
donations from several sources. A list of donors is available on the
MOM-n-PA website at www.mom-n-pa.com.
At the event, patients were
screened for high blood pressure, blood sugar and other medical
conditions before being treated. After receiving treatment, the patients
received information on good oral hygiene practices, healthy eating and
low-cost medical and dental clinics in the region.
Davis said the MOM-n-PA free dental clinic was the first one held in
Pennsylvania. He said the MOM-n-PA Board will discuss holding future
events in other regions of the state. MOM events are held in about 20
states across the country. Since 2000, more than 100,000 patients have
been served at MOM events, according to America’s Dentists Care
About MOM-n-PA MOM-n-Pa is
a 501C-3 non-profit foundation dedicated to providing free dental
services to underserved Pennsylvanians. You can learn about the
nationwide effort at www.adcfmom.org. To learn more about MOM-n-PA as
well, please visit www.mom-n-pa.com.
If you or a dentist you know donates his or her time
or resources giving back to the public, please take a moment to submit
information to PDA for inclusion on our website or other PDA
volunteer, volunteerism, making a difference, dental clinic