Arizona Mission of Mercy will come to Fort Tuthill this weekend to provide free dental care to residents of northern Arizona.
The event is scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday and, according to its website, was unaffected by the fires that occurred north of Flagstaff.
Mission of Mercy is in its 10th year of providing free dental care to Arizona residents. They have seen nearly 17,000 patients during that time and have provided a total of almost $18 million in free dentistry to date.
“We knew a lot of Arizonans were falling through the cracks and not getting regular dental care,” Dr. Ann Blue said, adding that about 21% of adults and 31% of children have no control. regular dental.
The event, known as AZMOM North, will be Mission of Mercy’s second in Flagstaff, following its first event at Fort Tuthill in the summer of 2019. Bringing the event north from its annual event in Phoenix, the organization hopes to expand access to dental care. to other parts of the state, including those in rural communities.
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“We want to access those patients there who might not be going to Phoenix in December [for the annual event]Blue said. “…We know the people of northern Arizona need us too.”
The 2019 event provided approximately 600 patients with $1 million in free dental care. The hope is that this year will be even bigger, Blue said — they hope to serve 800 patients and provide another million dollars in free dental care.
Among the services provided at this event will be medical screenings, dentures, extractions, fillings and cleanings.
Everyone living in Arizona is welcome, especially patients who otherwise could not afford health care. This includes people with a dental problem or pain that they would like treated, as well as those seeking further examination or information. There are no eligibility requirements.
“Our goal is to help patients who are in pain get out of pain and start restoring those smiles,” Blue said.
As appointments are first come, first served, Blue recommends getting there as early as possible, especially for those who know they need specific treatment. The Fort Tuthill Commercial Building will accept patients from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 17 and 18.
Visits will begin with a physical, involving a blood pressure check and a medical history form (knowing that “a list of their medications is always good,” Blue said), followed by patient education. Actual care will follow, with an emphasis on the “most urgent needs” such as infection and pain.
More than 600 volunteers are registered for this weekend event, including dentists from central and northern Arizona, enough to support between 45 and 50 chairs.
“We want to fill it, we want to provide care,” Blue said. “…We have found that with the pandemic there is a pent up need. We know that people have not been seen, have not seen the dentist as much for many reasons and so our goal is simply to provide as much care as possible within the two day period.
They always needed volunteers – both dentists and lay people with no experience in the field to help with other (unrelated) tasks. Events like these require a lot of volunteers, Blue said.
More information about Arizona Mission of Mercy, including information for patients and volunteers, is available at azmom.org/azmomnorth.