The Central Arizona Dental Society (CADS) hosted its second Mission of Mercy (MOM) event at the Arizona Fairgrounds in December. With over 1500 volunteers, 266 dentists, 129 hygienists and almost 300 dental assistants, they were able to see and treat over 2000 patients in need of dental care. Three years ago, the state cut the adult dental benefit out of AHCCCS and those that have AHCCCS, don't have dental care under the program, says Dr. Kevin Earle, ADA Executive Director.
Rita Perry, one of the over 100 hygienists volunteering their time, said that "we really need a system of care but just to provide what we can provide for a hopeful 1600 patients...to know we made some impact on the health of some Arizona citizens, that's good." Dr. Raymund Tanaka, a dentist at the event, says that "you want them to be confident, happy and smiling and the best way to help them is by taking care of their teeth."
"The whole body's health starts with oral health," says Dr. Roger Briggs, a Scottsdale dentist with Briggs Family Dentistry. Dr. Earle says that dental pain is the leading reason there are school absences and that most of these dental conditions are entirely preventable. He believes having a bigger "prevention mentality" will help in eradicating the serious rates of decay we're seeing in both adults and children.
Kevin Conroy, one of the event coordinators, said that one of their goals this year was to expand the base of sponsors, which was accomplished by having three times more sponsors than last year.
The AZ MOMS event is proudly supported financially by Delta Dental of Arizona. For more information on the Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy and the Central Arizona Dental Society, click here. AZ MOMS spoke with the Dentist News Network, providing online, on-demand dental video content.