The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 17, 2014

Mission of Mercy Feb. 7-8: Free dental services slated at Expo Center

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Oklahoma Mission of Mercy, an annual two-day event where dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and medical assistants set up shop and give dental exams, extractions, fillings, root canals and teeth cleanings on a first-come, first-served basis, is less than a month away.

The event will be Feb. 7-8 at Chisholm Trail Expo Center. During OkMOM, free dental services will be provided to nearly 2,000 uninsured people over two days’ time. There are no eligibility or income requirements for those who are treated — they need only be in need of dental care.

Tina Evans, director of communications and education for the Oklahoma Dental Association, said that although more than 1,700 volunteers have signed on to help with the event, more are needed.

“There are 357 volunteers from the Enid community and 19 of those are dentists,” Evans said.

The needed volunteers include dental assistants, parking attendants to help direct volunteer and patient parking lots, patient escorts to help patients through their stay at the event and assist with their needs and people to help break down the event center after the Mission of Mercy.

Groups, such as Boy Scouts, work best for the parking attendants, Evans said.

Janet Cordell, coordinator of Enid Community Clinic, said OkMom is not about helping patients look better. Services offered include cleanings, fillings, extractions and a limited number of root canals.

“It’s about relief from pain,” Cordell said.

“Large areas of northwest Oklahoma are considered dental shortage areas, and many people living here are in desperate need of dental care,” said Enid dentist Tim Fagan, president of Oklahoma Dental Association and chair of OkMOM. “These residents need to know about the Oklahoma Mission of Mercy event in February and begin making their plans to attend.”