Amazing Grace

Operation Grace provides urgent care to Minnesotans in need

Content provided by Deanna Duke, Market Development Manager for KaVo Kerr and Operation Grace Volunteer

Answering the call of many who need basic dental care, Operation Grace goes out into the community to assist men, women and children who otherwise go untreated. Here’s the story of one such individual, Loreal. Loreal has been homeless for several months and has not had dental care for at least 10 years. She has been in pain from her dental issues for months, and she’s excited about getting two of her teeth extracted so she’ll finally be pain-free. Loreal related, “I worked in retail previously, and the pain would sometimes be so bad that I could barely communicate with my customers. I’m hoping to be free of my tooth pain soon, so I can concentrate much better and eat and speak easier.” Today she’s having dental X-rays taken with the NOMAD™ Pro 2 and treatment, and hopefully will be on the road to better dental health and improved quality of life.

Loreal receives her much-needed dental work from volunteer Dr. Lewis Pierce.

Now that handheld X-ray equipment is authorized for general dental use in Minnesota, we’re proud to announce our partnership with Operation Grace MN. KaVo Kerr is providing the NOMAD Pro 2 handheld dental X-ray device for use in Operation Grace’s mission to provide dental care to those just like Loreal in urgent need. We were proud to be a part of a key community event at People Serving People (PSP) in downtown Minneapolis on August 5th to help Operation Grace carry on its tradition of giving back and helping those in dire need of dental attention. PSP is a homeless shelter for families with dependent children that serves about 350 people per night – 60% of them children. We provided a NOMAD Pro 2™ to assist in treating families and individuals, including Loreal, onboard the mobile dental van dubbed “Lil’ Flossie” as well as at the three dental hygiene chairs inside the facility.

Lil Flossie mobile dental clinic
Lil’ Flossie” mobile dental clinic

A motorized miracle-maker, “Lil’ Flossie” gives clinical volunteers the ability to provide dental care to schools, homeless shelters and other community organizations across the state. The van’s operator, Operation Grace MN, mobilizes local area dental professionals including dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants to serve as volunteers to treat people who lack access to dental care in underserved communities. The addition of NOMAD to the dental equipment onboard Lil’ Flossie will provide the ability to capture extremely high quality dental images while also increasing flexibility and enhancing workflow in this mobile environment. “This is truly an answer to many prayers,” said John Braddock, Executive Director of Operation Grace MN. “This gift is going to help us serve tens of thousands of patients and will bring them hope and better oral health. Before the gift of the Nomad™ Pro 2, all our X-ray images had to be taken on Lil’ Flossie. When we have two-to-three hygiene chairs running inside the school and two restorative chairs outside on Flossie, sending a preventative patient to the van to get an X-ray meant waiting or interrupting one of the restorative chairs. Very difficult! Now we can have three X-ray units operating at one time. It is so convenient and will save much time and frustration.”

Volunteer Dede Targowski from KaVo Kerr teaches Melissa Turner, Operation Grace’s Director of Volunteer Operations, how to use NOMAD as Bob Petrich, Director of Clinic Operations looks on.

In operation since July 2014, Operation Grace has treated more than 2,400 patients and delivered more than $1 million in donated dental services. Even after the PSP event, Operation Grace will be able to use the NOMAD at every future clinic as well. There are striking differences in the level of dental disease by income, with those in poverty experiencing twice as much dental caries as those who are more affluent. The addition of a NOMAD will allow Operation Grace and its staff to deliver even more restorative dental care to this underserved population.

Deanna presents John Braddock, Executive Director of Operation Grace, with the NOMAD Pro 2.

Operation Grace MN operates through the generosity of dental professional volunteers. If you’re a dental professional interested in volunteering to help patients across the Twin Cities metro area, Austin, Brainerd, Buffalo, Duluth, or St. Cloud, please contact Melissa Turner at To find out more about Operation Grace MN, to volunteer, or to donate, visit




NOTE: Within the United States the NOMAD Dental, NOMAD Pro 2 are cleared for sale by the FDA. Individual states may have specific requirements for their use. For more information, check with your dealer or the state radiation control office.

This entry was posted in October 2017.