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BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – During the state’s second Mission of Mercy event, Michigan Dental Association member dentists treated 858 patients — many requiring extensive treatment such as root canals and full-mouth extractions — and provided more than $847,000 in free dental care.

The 100-chair dental clinic, which is a joint venture between the MDA and the MDA Foundation, was held May 30-31 at Ferris State University’s Ewigbelen Sports Complex in Big Rapids.

A total of 4,742 procedures were provided, with each patient receiving about five procedures on average, equivalent to nearly $987 in care per person. About half of all procedures were for extensive treatments, such as oral surgery and restorative care.

“Michigan dentists routinely help patients in great need, but this event really illustrated the scope of the need to continue to expand access to dental care,” said Dr. Stephen Harris, a Farmington Hills dentist and chairman of MOM. “Thankfully we had a wonderful group of volunteers to help these folks in desperate need of care, but obviously a better approach is for Michigan to adequately fund the health programs that can alleviate the human suffering we saw here over the two days.”

Procedures ranged from X-rays and cleanings to fillings, extractions and oral surgery. Patients also received information about the importance of good daily oral hygiene, a healthy diet and routine preventive dental care, all of which can prevent many of the severe problems that were treated during the event.

The total cost of holding the event was approximately $180,000, funded through grants, private contributions, dental supplies, meals and snacks, tables and chairs, office supplies and other items. Major sponsors include the Delta Dental Foundation — the sole platinum donor — Benco Dental, Henry Schein Dental, Mecosta County Community Foundation, the Michigan Department of Community Health and Patterson Dental.


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Michigan Dental Association

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