Record Number of Volunteers Provided Free Dental Care to Needy Children in Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS, March 31, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The results are in and a record number of nearly 2,500 volunteer dental professionals throughout Minnesota provided their services for free to children whose families could otherwise not afford the care. The annual Give Kids a Smile outreach effort provided 5,200 needy children with free dental care.
The free care was provided on two days in February when 533 dentists across the state opened their offices and clinics to provide completely free dental care to children whose families could not otherwise afford the care.
This year marks the 7th consecutive year the Minnesota Dental Association has sponsored Give Kids a Smile. Since its inception, the program has served 32,000 young children and the donated services top $10 million dollars in value.
Efforts have brought dental care to low-income children in the region, but many adults still struggle to find care.
The Virginia Dental Association runs a donated dental services program for the elderly or those with a disability. That program has a waiting list of more than 700 people, and most patients have to wait a year and half for services, said Barbara Rollins, who helps coordinate the program.
With this year’s cancellation of a two-day free dental clinic that has served about 1,000 people annually, people such as Creel are expected to have even fewer options for dental care. For two years the Roanoke Mission of Mercy dental clinic has been a spring event at the Roanoke Civic Center, but scheduling conflicts forced organizers to push it back to March 2010.
For many adults, Mission of Mercy is the only opportunity they have for dental care. Last year 5,038 dental procedures were performed on 991 people, including the pulling of 2,023 teeth.