It can take self-discipline to make appointments for regular dental care, but here’s a reason to be thankful you are able to make and pay for those checkups: surveys have indicated that 21 percent of Arizona adults and 31 percent of all Arizona children have never had a dental check-up. Even more concerning, more than 44 percent of Arizonans lack dental insurance, making care of critical dental needs financially challenging.
To rectify this situation, the Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation is hosting its annual Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy (AZMOM) event on Dec. 11 and 12 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix. AZMOM is a dental clinic that offers basic dental care at no cost to the individuals being treated.
More than 2,000 patients are seen each year at the AZMOM event, and care is provided at the dental clinic by nearly 1,500 volunteers, including clinicians such as dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants, as well as hundreds of non-clinical volunteers who help make the event run smoothly. In 2014, $1.8 million in free dental care was provided.
Because it is a dental clinic in a temporary location set up for a short duration, AZMOM focuses on providing basic care and relieving pain and infection. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. Providers treat patients by performing extractions, filling cavities and performing prophylactic dental cleanings.
Those wanting to participate in the AZMOM event will want to arrive well before the clinic doors open at 6 a.m. each day. Once the total numbers of patients that can seen each day have been registered, no additional patients can be accommodated. Patients seeking treatment at the dental clinic should be prepared to spend the entire day at the event.
Dr. Jacqueline S. Allen, who practices with the Phoenix Endodontics Group, said the AZMOM event was a way for dental professionals in Arizona to give back to the community and improve the state’s overall oral health situation. “The free AZMOM dental clinic allows dentists to provide critical care to those who need it the most, and can afford it the least,” she said. “Please spread the word to anyone who could benefit from this event.”
More information on the AZMOM event is available online at the AZMOM website.