MONTICELLO, Arkansas – 1,458 people from Arkansas and surrounding states received $ 938,060 in free dental services at this year’s Arkansas Mission of Mercy (ArMOM) event. The free two day dental clinic was held May 20-21 on the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus.
Founded by the Arkansas State Dental Association (ASDA), ArMOM is the largest charitable dental event in the state. More than 700 volunteers, including dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, nurses, physicians, and pharmacists, help provide free basic dental care for low to moderate income Arkansans seeking relief from untreated dental pain. All services were provided at no cost to the patient.
“This truly is a labor of love for many of the dentists and volunteers who donate their time and skills towards helping those who are in need,” said Dr. Terry Fiddler, executive director of ArMOM. “We see folks come in with their heads down and with life beating them down. ArMOM provides a second chance and to see people walk out of the clinic happy, you can’t put a price tag on that!”
Patients began lining up as early as 3am to access the free dental care, with some traveling as far away as Shreveport, LA. Services included cleanings, extractions and fillings. Patients could also receive partial acrylic dentures to replace any teeth that may have been removed.
Dr. Hassan Bashiri, director of the dental clinic at CARTI, received the Delta Dental of Arkansas challenge coin, presented each year at ArMOM in recognition of special achievement by a dentist or dental professional.
This year’s event also served as a tribute to the late Dr. Tim Chase of Monticello who passed away earlier this year following a battle with cancer. Dr. Chase volunteered with ArMOM and played an integral part in bringing the event to the Delta region in 2010 and 2016. His wife and two daughters were on hand to accept an honorary plaque from the ASDA.
The 2016 Arkansas Mission of Mercy was funded by several large grants from the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, and the Sturgis Foundation. Other sponsors include Henry Schein Dental, Patterson Dental, Medical Waste Services, Green Dental Lab, Edmonds Dental Prosthetics, McDonalds, and Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Over the past ten years, ArMOM has treated more than 18,000 people at a value of more than $9.5 million dollars.
The 2017 Arkansas Mission of Mercy will take place in Conway.