People living in or near Southwest Virginia can take advantage of free oral care on July 12-13 at the 20th annual Mission of Mercy dental clinic at UVa-Wise’s Prior Convocation Center.
Services will be offered through Mission of Mercy (MOM), a program of the Virginia Dental Association Foundation (VDAF) that addresses oral health needs in underserved communities and areas throughout the state by providing preventative, restorative and surgical dental care. The MOM program was created in 2000 by Dr. Terry Dickinson and 31 states have now implemented similar models.
Dental clinic hours are 7am – 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and patients are encouraged to arrive early. Pre-registration begins on Thursday, July 11 at 12 noon. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes, and bring food and drink for the day. However, no overnight parking on the UVa-Wise campus will be allowed.
The VDAF has provided dental services to patients seeking care in the Wise County area through the MOM program since 2000. Over the past 19 years, Mission of Mercy has served more than 23,000 patients and provided over $20 million in free dental care in Wise County.
This year, the program is once again hosted at the UVa-Wise Convocation Center in an effort to make the clinic experience more comfortable for patients.
“In addition to dire economic and social challenges, many of our neighbors in Southwest Virginia struggle with little or no access to oral health care”, said VDAF executive director Tara Quinn. “Poor oral health is linked to chronic disease, childhood illnesses, and even lost school and work hours. We are honored to have served our neighbors in the Wise County area for 20 years now and are grateful to UVa-Wise and the many volunteers that power the MOM program.”
The VDAF expects more than 400 dentists, dental professionals and support volunteers from the Virginia Dental Association, VCU School of Dentistry and the community to participate in the two-day event.
The VDAF has focused on Mission of Mercy as an important tool for addressing the need for access to free oral health care. The program has provided dental procedures for more than 67,000 low-income individuals since its inception.