Wednesday, June 09, 2010
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Dental foundation to host free dental care Friday and Saturday

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[June 09, 2010]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois State Dental Society Foundation hosts its first Mission of Mercy, or "MOM," event at the Interstate Center in Bloomington on Friday and Saturday. More than 900 volunteer dentists, hygienists and others from throughout Illinois will provide free basic dental care and oral surgery to patients who would not otherwise have access to necessary dental treatment. The volunteers will use 93 portable dental units, which include chairs and dental equipment.

"We expect to deliver free care to about 800 people each day, providing an estimated $900,000 in free dental services to both children and adults," said Dr. Luanne McClean president of the ISDS Foundation. "Our emphasis will be on basic dental care, such as fillings, extractions and cleanings, but not all dental services will be available."

Patients will receive care on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointments will be taken and no preregistration is available. Priority will be given to those with the most critical need. Only limited lab work will be offered (one-tooth treatment partials). No false teeth will be made.

Doors will open each treatment day at 6 a.m. Patients will be screened for medically compromising health conditions that would prohibit treatment, such as extremely high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels or severe disabilities. They will not be screened on income; anyone can receive treatment.

"Based on other Mission of Mercy events held across the country, typically there is a great deal of interest among prospective patients, some of whom travel hundreds of miles to receive care," added Dr. Larry Osborne, ISDS president, who participated in Oklahoma's event in February.

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The Illinois State Dental Society's Mission of Mercy will serve to highlight the serious problem that Illinois citizens have in accessing dental care. The event will relieve some suffering, but it won't solve the problem. Only the Illinois Legislature can provide the solution through adequately funding the dental Medicaid program in Illinois.

More than 2.6 million Illinoisan are enrolled in state-sponsored health insurance. Two-thirds of those enrolled are children. While Illinois has experienced a steady increase in public aid enrollment, funding for the most critical procedures has not increased in more than 30 years.

More information on the event is available at by clicking on "Mission of Mercy."

[Text from file received from Illinois State Dental Society]

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