MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The Minnesota Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Foundation hosted its Minnesota Mission of Mercy on June 14 and 15 in Bemidji, providing free dental care to children and adults who face barriers to accessing dental care. This second Mission of Mercy event held in Minnesota delivered free dental care valued at approximately $1 million. The signature sponsor of the event was Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation.
The Sanford Center in Bemidji was transformed into a giant dental clinic that included over 100 dental chairs, 16 sterilization units, and nine x-ray units. Over the course of two days there were 1,652 patient visits, resulting in over 6,800 total dental procedures, including 1,474 fillings, 966 extractions, 1,607 x-rays, 481 cleanings, 96 partial dentures, and 72 root canals.
Over 1300 volunteers were used to staff the two-day event and included dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental therapists, translators and hundreds of community and lay volunteers who served as greeters, registration assistants, and patient escorts. In addition to the two clinic days, volunteers also donated countless hours to setting up and then tearing down the massive dental clinic at The Sanford Center.
Patients were very appreciative of the dental care received and had many kind words of thanks:
“I want to thank you and your organization for the help my family received this past weekend in Bemidji. The free dental care we received through your group was top notch.” (Shevlin, MN)
“The dentist who worked on me went above and beyond! Excellent service and I really appreciate it!” (Thief River Falls, MN)
“Wonderful people … appreciate all the smiles and professional treatment!” (Bemidji, MN)
“Thank you so much for this event. It is very beneficial and you’re helping so many people in the community.” (Bagley, MN)
“I’m absolutely, sincerely blessed by this opportunity.” (Detroit Lakes, MN)
This event was the second Mission of Mercy held in Minnesota, focused on providing dental care to underserved populations that face barriers to obtaining dental care. “This event so clearly shows that vulnerable people are not receiving the dental treatment they need, many suffering from long-term pain and even infection from untreated dental disease,” stated Dr. Michael Flynn, a practicing dentist and president of the Minnesota Dental Association. “Until this problem is solved, the MDA will continue to work with lawmakers on a better solution to improving the broken public system.”
The Minnesota Dental Foundation raised more than $260,000 in donations to cover the cost of the event.
The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. You can learn more at www.mndental.org.