Patient Information FAQ’s

Mission Of Mercy: Patient Information FAQ’s

Click on the questions below to find out important information on the 2024 Mission of Mercy program, with clinic days scheduled for June 7-8 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Patient Flyer

1. What is the Mission of Mercy?

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The Minnesota Mission of Mercy is a two-day FREE dental clinic for any child or adult that needs dental services, regardless of previous dental history, insurance status or their ability to pay.

2. When and where is this FREE dental clinic?

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Clinic Dates: June 7-8. 2024
Clinic Hours: Doors open at 5:30 a.m. and close once we’ve reached capacity.

Duluth Entertainment Convention Center
350 Harbor Drive
Duluth, MN 55802


3. How does the clinic work?

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The clinic will be staffed with hundreds of volunteers from throughout the state of Minnesota and neighboring states, including licensed dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants. As you and your family enter the Convention Center, volunteers will register you, take a basic health history, and then direct you to the appropriate treatment area. There are no qualifications or restrictions (except possible health issues) to take advantage of the free dental services.

4. What dental services will be offered?

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All patients are examined by a licensed dentist to determine their most important need. Depending on your need, services may include cleanings, fillings, tooth removal (extractions), a limited number of root canals and treatment partials to replace front teeth. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide caps, crowns, metal-based partial dentures, dentures, implants, bridges, orthodontics or extraction of wisdom teeth. Narcotics will not be dispensed. You and the treating dentist will decide the appropriate service that best fits your circumstances. An individual’s most severe problem (infection and/or pain) will be given first priority. Services will be done on a first come-first serve basis.

5. Will you be able to fix all my dental problems?

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That will depend on what your needs are. Only one major service is usually performed on each patient. We will do multiple extractions or fillings at one time; however, you will not receive both of these services at one time. Our philosophy is to provide services to as many people as possible rather than provide many services to fewer people. If you receive treatment on Friday you can get in line for Saturday, too.

6. Do you treat children?

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Yes, children are welcome. We have pediatric dentists, especially trained to work with children, who will provide treatment in a gentle and caring manner. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

7. Do I need to bring proof of income?

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No, we do not require you to bring proof of income. The Minnesota Dental Foundation Mission of Mercy is a FREE event, regardless of your income.

8. Do I need an appointment?

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No, all services at the Minnesota Mission of Mercy are provided on a first-come, first-served basis until we have reached our capacity for the day. Our capacity is determined by the number of professional volunteers present and cannot be predicted in advance of the opening of the MOM event. Our goal is to treat as many patients as we can each day.

9. When do I need to be there?

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You should plan to arrive in the early morning hours. Patients usually begin arriving shortly after midnight. Doors will open at 5:30 a.m. and dental examinations will begin promptly. Please remember services are provided on a first-come, first-served basis until we have reached our capacity for the day.

10. Do I need to wait in line if my case is an emergency?

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Everyone has to wait in line for services. Most Mission of Mercy patients are suffering and in pain, so we do not take anyone out of line. If you have dental pain, fever, and/or swelling, you should seek immediate attention and NOT wait for Mission of Mercy, as this could put your overall heath at greater risk.

11. How long can I expect to spend at the Minnesota Mission of Mercy?

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Patients seeking treatment at the Minnesota Mission of Mercy should be prepared to spend the entire day at the event. If you are not available when your name is called for treatment, we will move on to the next patient.

12. What should I bring with me?

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We suggest bringing the following items with you to the Minnesota Mission of Mercy:

  • Snacks and drinks to sustain you during your waiting period.
  • Adequate clothing to shelter you while waiting.
  • Something to pass the time, like a book, knitting or puzzles.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications. On the day of the clinic be sure to take your medications and bring them with you if you would need them throughout the duration of the event.

13. What, medically, could keep me from being treated at the Mission of Mercy?

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  • Anticoagulation: Patients on ASA or Plavix can have extractions. Coumadin patients need to have an INR within 24H if needing extractions. This can be done on site if we have a machine. For 1-2 extractions cut off is 3.5. For 3 or more extractions cut off is 3.0. Patients on anticoagulants that cannot be measured by an INR (i.e. Pradaxa and Xarleto) cannot have extractions.
  • Bisphosphonates: Routine dental care may be provided with gentle soft tissue management. Local anesthesia can be used as necessary. Patients with a history of Oral Bisphosphonate treatment may have extractions at the discretion of the oral surgery/medical triage lead. Patients with a history of IV Bisphosphonate treatment may not have extractions.
  • Blood pressure cutoff: 180/100
  • Blood sugar cutoff: 300
  • Heart Stents – no treatment before 3 months post op – no pre-med necessary.
  • Heart surgery – no treatment before 6 months post op or at discretion of medical triage lead, pre-med case by case basis.
  • Pregnancy: Should receive hygiene care as indicated. In uncomplicated pregnancy, treatment of symptomatic teeth can be done in all trimesters. Asymptomatic teeth should be treated only in second trimester. Lidocaine only. Multiple extractions will be at the discretion of oral surgery.

14. What can I expect at the Mission of Mercy?

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Come prepared for the weather when waiting in line and have a plan to stow your gear (chairs, blankets, sleeping bags) while you are in the clinic, as large items will not be permitted inside.

Once capacity has been reached, the clinic doors will be closed and a sign will be placed outside as notification to others. This process will repeat on the second day. We will treat as many patients as we can each of the two clinic days. As patients enter the building they will be given a name tag and a numbered wristband that corresponds with their place in line. Patients must maintain their place in line, in both the waiting room and the clinic, and cannot be gone for long periods of time for any reason. They will be escorted, as necessary, by volunteers for restroom breaks.

Once they are seated, patients will be given a registration/release form to complete. Note, that we will not be checking IDs, and any demographic information collected will only be used in aggregate, so we have statistics about our patient population.

In the Dental Education area patients will receive information about the importance of maintaining their teeth with proper tooth brushing and flossing. Information will also be provided about nutrition and diet as it relates to dental decay. We will also have materials specific to smoking cessation and other health issues such as diabetes.

Patients will proceed, in numerical order to Medical Triage. Their medical history will be reviewed and their blood pressure taken to be sure they are healthy enough to safely receive dental treatment. From Medical Triage they will be escorted to X-ray and then to Dental Triage where a dentist will examine them and discuss recommended treatment.

Patients will stop at the Routing desk and receive a numbered card for the corresponding clinic where they will receive treatment (i.e., fillings, extractions, cleanings, treatment partials).

Once patients have received their treatment they are escorted, as needed, to a post-op area where a dentist will explain proper post-treatment care and answer any questions. From there, all patients will take a small exit survey and then be escorted back outside.

15. What should I do if my doctor tells me to premed before dental treatment?

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Follow the instructions of your primary care provider and inform the attending medical providers examining you in Medical Triage. Take the premedication if you have it; if you do not, it will be provided for you in the clinic. Premedication does not eliminate you from receiving care.

16. Who will be performing the dental services of cleanings?

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Licensed dentists and hygienists from Minnesota and neighboring states will be providing the dental treatment.  A limited number of supervised, fourth-year dental students will be treating patients as well.

17. It is difficult for me to walk, will help be available?

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Yes, wheelchairs will be available to accommodate those with special needs.

18. English is not my primary language; will there be interpreters?

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Yes, interpreters will be available for those speaking Spanish. Some other languages can be accommodated through our volunteers.  If you can bring a friend or family member to interpret for you, it would be greatly appreciated; however, not required.

19. Will childcare be available while I am getting treatment?

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No, childcare is not available. We encourage you to not bring children to Minnesota Mission of Mercy unless they are receiving treatment.

20. Who is paying for all this free dental care?

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The Minnesota Dental Foundation Mission of Mercy is entirely volunteer run and donation based. We have received very generous contributions from our MOM sponsors that allow us to bring in the equipment and supplies necessary for the clinic. Everyone working at the clinic is volunteering their time and talents. The services are absolutely free to patients.