By CRISTINA JANNEY
The event that will provide free dental care for children and adults will take place in Hays on February 18-19.
The Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation announced Hays as the location for its free dental clinic – the Kansas Mission of Mercy.
The event will take place at the Ellis County Fairgrounds and will require 400-500 volunteers. This will include around 100 dentists, oral surgeons and dental hygienists, who will offer their services free of charge during the event.
The doors will open for patient registration at 5:30 a.m. each day. You do not need to provide ID, proof of income, proof of insurance, legal status or residence, or dental records to receive care.
Everyone will be required to wear a mask in the building regardless of COVID vaccination status.
Some of the services offered will include cleanings, tooth extractions and fillings, said Niki Sadler, executive director of the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation.
Due to COVID, the clinic will space the dental chairs a bit further than in some previous events. A similar event in Dodge City in 2020 served 822 patients and one in Wichita in 2021 served 599 patients. The total services offered in Wichita in 2021 were over $ 774,000.
However, Sadler said there are many variables each year that play into the number of patients the event can serve.
Many of those seeking care at the event have not seen a dentist for a long time, Sadler said. As a result, many have advanced dental disease, she said.
The event will be first come, first served for adults. Internally, the committee will work with the health department and nurses for children’s appointments, but the event will not turn the children away.
More information will be released to the media about scheduling an appointment when the software is in place to start scheduling an appointment.
The event is expected to raise approximately $ 160,000 in cash and in-kind donations. The Robert E. and Patricia Schmidt Foundation and the Delta Dental Foundation have already donated $ 50,000 each to the project.
Individuals and local businesses can donate through the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation at www.ksdentalfoundation.org.
On December 20, registration on this same website will open for volunteers. Numerous professional non-dental volunteers will be needed for the event, including people serving meals to patients and other volunteers for safety, setup, teardown, parking crew and patient escorts.
The event will take groups of volunteers, but each individual will need to register on the web portal in order to be able to sign a waiver for the event.
This is the first time that the Mercy Mission is organized in Hays.
“Northwestern Kansas and Hays are a great location and a hub,” Sadler said.
While the event gives back in the form of free dental care, the event also brings in income to the host community in the form of hotel stays and increases tax revenue from other purchases that volunteers and dental patients will make. in the community, Sadler said.
While most of the patients will likely come from Hays and the surrounding area, Sadler said she wouldn’t be surprised if the event drew people from as far away as Colorado.
Here are some key facts for patients
- Patients should continue to take their prescription medications as directed, so bring them with you, so that they do not miss a dose if the patient has to wait much of the day.
- The patient will need to fill out a brief health history, so bring a list of allergies, prescriptions, etc. to make this information available.
- Patients do not need to bring a dental record or proof of income.
- Services are offered on a first come, first served basis and all adult patients must be able to stand in line – no appointments.
- Doors will open for patient check-in at 5:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday (February 18-19) and it is up to the patient to queue or determine what time to queue. The wait inside is to be determined.
- Parking is limited, so there may not be preferential parking for patients with disabilities.
- The event only lets in as many patients it can treat that day and authorities will then close the doors. Standing in line on Friday and not entering does not prioritize the patient the next day. It’s the same process on Saturday – first come, first served.
- Be prepared to wait and potentially be there all day. While a patient may arrive early in the morning, there may be times when it is mid-afternoon before they are treated.
- Breakfast and lunch in a bag will be provided to patients at no cost to them. Diabetic patients or anyone else requiring an alternative diet should bring food with them.
- After an x-ray and medical screening, the patient will be examined by a dentist and the patient’s greatest need will be addressed. For example, if a patient needs extractions and fillings, the greatest need (probably extractions) will be addressed. The patient has the option of coming back on Saturday to get the fillings, but he has to queue again like everyone else. No row priority is given.
- There is no sedation or nitrous oxide used during this event. The patient will be numb in the area of the current procedure using an injectable numbing agent.
- No prosthesis or implant will be provided.
- Complete oral extractions (except wisdom teeth) will be performed if the examining dentist deems it necessary. The patient will be able to discuss treatment / intervention options with the dentist before treatment.
- The event usually has as many volunteers as needed registered prior to the event. Therefore, volunteering will not prioritize or access treatment. Registered volunteers who wish to be treated must manage their schedule, so that they can queue for treatment.
- Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times.
- After treatment, patients will be given a phone number to call for emergency follow-up if they experience any problems with the treatment received.
- Even though safe and effective coronavirus vaccines have been widely distributed, Kansas Mission of Mercy organizers are asking that if you are sick or feel like you are getting sick, please stay home.