The Mission of Mercy concept was first created about seven years ago, when the Virginia Dental Association organized an event. Last month Connecticut ran it’s second annual mission.
The event, taking a solid year of planning, is set up as a MASH style dental clinic. The aim is to treat whoever presents themselves, regardless of ability to pay, insurance coverage, residency status, etc. We do not ask for payment of any kind from our patients. Our patients are mostly the uninsured or under insured; those who keep putting off dental treatment due to the cost.
This year we were able to treat 1800 patients during a two-day clinic. The value of treatment performed exceeded $750,000. The value of dental x-rays taken (including digital panoramic images) was over $34,000. To give you an idea of the enormity of the event, we had 100 portable dental chairs in use and performed examinations, x-rays, fillings, cleanings, root canals, immediate partial dentures, and over 1,000 extractions. We had close to 1,000 volunteers.
Having the use of digital radiography in an environment as rustic and basic as a Mission of Mercy is a luxury. The NOMADs at CTMOM allowed us to take the standard of care in this setting to a much higher level. Oral surgeons were not blindly extracting teeth. Endodontists could visualize root curvatures and do quality root canals. Dental cavities were not overlooked because dentists don’t have x-ray vision!
In short, the NOMADS allowed us to diagnose and treat patients more accurately, more efficiently, and safely. A giant “thank you” from every patient and volunteer.
Brian S. Duchan, DMD
CTMOM Radiology Department Chief
Trustee, Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach
Immediate Past President, Connecticut State Dental Association