A recent JADA article, “Mission of Mercy Patient Characteristics and Dental-Related Emergency Department Use” highlighted how the Florida Dental Association Foundation have been using their MOM events as a way to collect data that can help “create sustainable strategies to improve oral health care access and outcomes”.
We’re proud to have started MOM back in 2000 at the Lonesome Pine airport in Wise and are especially proud that MOM will be celebrating the 100th project in Virginia in Wise on July 20-22, 2018. Who knew that when Dr. Terry Dickinson started this program almost 20 years ago that today we would have mobile clinics throughout the state and that other states would be operating their own clinics under the MOM banner.
Over the years, access to oral health needs statewide and even nationwide became apparent. MOM projects have become (to many) their yearly dental visit. MOM volunteers are very special people in the professional dental community. They are empathetic to patients’ limited resources and access to affordable dental care. Dental procedure statistics gathered at each MOM project does provide information on the number of oral surgery procedures (extractions) performed vs. restorative procedures and prophys. In the case of VDAF MOM, we are often able to help difficult dental cases obtain services through the Donated Dental Services program (following a MOM project).
MOM is much more than the event itself or even the lasting effects to an individual of seeking one-time treatment. And while MOM is not the answer to access to dental care, the work by our colleagues in Florida and our own work here in the Commonwealth does play a large part in identifying localities in need of new and/or sustainable dental clinics to provide year round access.