September 24, 2015
The ninth annual Colorado Mission of Mercy (COMOM), held Aug. 14-15 at Harrison School in Canon City, Colo., was a success. This year, the school was transformed into a large-scale dental clinic in which 157 dentists provided about 1,200 patients oral healthcare services. The school’s gymnasium was set up for oral surgery, endodontic and restorative procedures, dental hygiene and pediatric dentistry. The commons area was used for imaging, and classrooms were used for the preparation of flippers and dentures.
Dr. John Kearney and Dr. Alex VanAcker served as the Canon City COMOM site chairs.
“Access to dental care is a huge problem for many families, especially for those living in rural areas,” said Dr. Kearney. “Thousands of individuals cannot eat, sleep or concentrate at work or school because of oral pain.”
“COMOM helped a large number of individuals with much needed dental care,” said Dr. VanAcker.
To promote ongoing oral health, patients received one-on-one instruction on how to care for their teeth and the importance of preventive dental care. In addition, each patient was provided a list of low-cost dental care options for further treatment and a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Patients also learned about dental benefits available through Medicaid.
During the two-day clinic, patients were resoundingly grateful for the dental treatment they received. They were appreciative of the relief from pain and the gift of a smile, especially during financial hard times. One patient said, “You’ve made it possible for me to chew food again … and to smile.”
COMOM has provided 12,000 patients with more than $9.6 million in dental care services since the program’s inception in 2007.