A-B Tech hosts state’s second-largest dental clinic; served 900 people
A post from AB Tech: A-B Tech hosted the North Carolina Dental Society’s second-largest Missions of Mercy (MOM) free dental clinic Aug. 13 and 14, providing about $400,000 worth of care to nearly 900 people.
Forty dental chairs filled A-B Tech’s gym holding patients in need of fillings, extractions and other services. “This was the second-largest clinic ever held in North Carolina, and would have been the largest if we had more chairs,” said Dr. Jack Teague, III, an Asheville dentist, A-B Tech Foundation board member and local MOM steering committee chair.
In addition to the state Dental Society and A-B Tech, the clinic was offered in conjunction with the local Dental Society, Eblen Charities, Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, and others. The more than 250 volunteers included dentists, hygienists, assistants, lab technicians, students and community members.
Missions of Mercy, or MOM, are sponsored by the North Carolina Dental Health Fund, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization whose mission is to provide free dental services to those in financial need with few or no other options. The program is a grassroots effort that depends on volunteers, with funding from grants and donations. Since its beginning seven years ago, the program has received national and statewide recognition.
“For years, A-B Tech and its Foundation have worked diligently to make our community a better place to live and work. A-B Tech's willingness to host this event is another example of the concern and commitment the college has for our community,” said Teague.
Taylor Reed drove 250 miles from Raleigh to be in line by 6 p.m. the night before the clinic, and slept outside on a concrete sidewalk. “It's worth whatever I have to go through. I can hardly eat anything,” said Reed, who had four impacted wisdom teeth.
In 2003, MOM organizers observed a free dental program of the Virginia Dental Association where portable dental equipment was used by volunteers to provide treatment to needy individuals in different areas of that state. Using equipment borrowed from Virginia while buying their own equipment with grants and donations, they began offering the two-day clinics in North Carolina in early 2004.
Currently, NCMOM has enough equipment to set up a 45-chair full dental clinic, including digital x-ray, sterilization, and all instrumentation and supplies. Through the end of 2009, more than 75 two-day clinics had been held across North Carolina, from Murphy to Kill Devil Hills, with more than $7 million in free dental care provided to more than 22,000 North Carolinians.
“Forty dentists signed up for the Asheville event, more than any other MOM. The North Carolina Dental Society is extremely grateful to all those who are involved. It was a wonderful event to help those in need within our area,” Teague said.
Although NCMOM primarily limits its clinics to helping citizens of North Carolina, it participated in a 65-chair clinic in New Orleans during February 2006 in partnership with the American Dental Association, the Virginia Dental Association, Remote Area Medical of Knoxville, the Louisiana State Dental Association, and the LSU School of Dentistry. During this weeklong clinic, free dental treatment was provided to more than 3,600 needy individuals and hurricane victims in that area.
Click link to see photos and a video of the event.