Davenport is set to host its second Iowa Mission of Mercy large-scale free dental clinic Sept. 20-21 at the downtown RiverCenter, 136 East Third St., Davenport.
It’s the 12th annual event for the organization, which hosts a yearly clinic where dental professionals and general volunteers donate their time to provide free oral care to any individual. Davenport last hosted the event in 2012.
“This is something that impacts not only the few people of Davenport, but the whole region,” Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch said in a press conference Wednesday at the RiverCenter. “It’s really a melting pot of a community, there is no actual profile of any individual patient. They’re all different individuals, and that’s what this is all about.”
Klipsch highlighted the work of local businesses and helping plan the event. “It demonstrates what we know to be true in this city and this region: This is a can-do community that cares about people, and they’ll do what it takes to make those great things happen.”
Bettendorf dentist and member of the statewide Mission of Mercy committee Dr. Kyle Gagliardo said the last clinic in Davenport had provided almost $1 million in free dental care to more than 1,300 patients. “For more than a decade, Iowa dentists have been planning and volunteering in our annual Mission of Mercy, and it is truly a mission of mercy,” he said. There are a number of factors that play into the decision to see a dentist, including the economy, appointment status and health issues. “The fact remains each year we see a large number of patients and provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in free dental care. There is still clearly a need in Iowa.”
There’s no cost to receive the care, no limit on where patients live and no dental insurance is required. The only information needed is health history to create an accurate patient record and determine what care is needed. Services available include cleanings, root canals and extractions as well as a limited number of partial dentures on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Volunteers are also being sought for the September clinic, both dental and general volunteers. “We continue to have medical professionals sign up to staff the clinic, dental hygienists, doctors, assistants. There’s a lot going on with a lot of people,” Davenport dentist Ben Lloyd said. Community volunteers are needed to get patients to the right place, keep the line moving and provide language translation services.
In-kind donations are also being sought, including food and financial donations. Meals are provided for volunteers as well as snacks and water for patients.
To spread the word, Gagliardo said they conduct outreach to community centers and work with church groups. Klipsch also said he would reach out to the other mayors of the Quad-Cities to create a proclamation that the cities are fully behind the clinic.
The clinic will be held Sept. 20-21 at the RiverCenter and doors open at 6 a.m. For more information or to sign up to volunteer, visit iowamom.org or call the coordinating organization, the Iowa Dental Foundation, at 515-331-2298