2018 Florida Mission of Mercy

By DentalPC

What happens when you need a dental cleaning, you’re experiencing tooth pain or worse? Most of our readers own dental practices or they are staff members who assist in a dental practice, which should make the entire process of going to the dentist very simple.

For most people who do not work in the world of dentistry, typically you’ll make a dental appointment and see your dentist as soon as possible, but what if it wasn’t that simple for others? Thankfully, DentalPC partners with life-changing foundations like the Florida Dental Association Foundation’s Florida Mission of Mercy (FLA-MOM) to help make this process a little easier for some of our Floridians.

What is the FLA-MOM?

The FLA-MOM is a two-day clinic which provides free dental care to the under-served and under-insured in Florida – those that would otherwise go without dental care. The FLA-MOM is a first-come, first-served event with a goal of treating 2,000 patients in two days. Every year, the FLA-MOM event is held in a different location throughout the state.

Services provided include cleanings, fillings, extractions, pediatric dentistry and limited root canal therapy.

How is DentalPC Involved?

DentalPC had the honor of sponsoring the FLA-MOM as the Presenting Benefactor for the fourth consecutive year. Clay Archer (CEO) and his team of knowledgeable technicians traveled to Fort Myers for this years big event. It was a busy couple of days in Fort Myers at the Lee Civic Center last weekend! The FLA-MOM provided 11,899 procedures to 1,906 patients with a value of more than $1.7 million!

 

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane With Us:

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Behind the Scenes: Jacob and David working hard to get all of the workstations set up!
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Day 2 in full effect … 200 veterans are about to walk in for their pre-screening.
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Veterans pre-screened, meetings done, we are locked and loaded to start seeing 2,000 patients and provide high quality dental care to those in need. It all starts bright and early at 5 a.m. and won’t stop until a little after noon on Saturday!
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Our CTO, Marty Cortines and Project Lead, Jacob!
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Of course, we have a little fun along the way! Thanks for all your hard work, Clay (CEO)!
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#DPCteam
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Last day, patients coming in.
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And just like that, it ends … 1900 patients in 2 days.

Thank you to all the volunteers who selflessly dedicated their time and skills to the 2018 FLA-MOM! We could not have done this without your help and support!

We’ll see you in Orlando for the next FLA-MOM on March 22-23, 2019.

Reprinted with permission. This article first appeared on DentalPC’s blog and can be found at http://www.dentalpc.com/2018/03/2018-florida-mission-of-mercy/.

The Smile was Free, But the Hug was Priceless

By Dr. Paul Palo

As I stood with a badly aching back and feet that felt as if they had been beaten from continuously standing for 12 hours two days straight on a concrete floor, a woman appeared and briskly walked toward me. Her look was determined and a little concerned.

First, let me explain my location: I was at the Lee County Civic Center Arena. This is where I’ve just spent three days volunteering for the Florida Dental Association Foundation’s (FDA Foundation) fourth annual Florida Mission of Mercy (FLA-MOM) dental clinic. Last weekend, me and my fellow dentists, hygienists, assistants, laboratory technicians and lay volunteers provided nearly 2,000 patients with more than $1.7 million worth of dentistry at no charge to them. Hard work? You bet it is. But worth every ache and blister.

So, back to the distressed woman who approached me. I was the lead volunteer in charge of overseeing dental triage, so I was frequently singled out by many people with questions and concerns. This young woman certainly looked concerned. She introduced herself as an advocate for a group of people staying in a drug addiction treatment facility in Naples. Dr. Leo Cullinan had arranged to bus them over to our event to take advantage of the treatment we were providing. She explained that one of her charges, a 24-year-old young woman, had come in the day before with many painful, bad teeth. It was determined that her remaining teeth were so badly decayed, none could be saved. She was taken to oral surgery where a skilled surgeon removed her remaining teeth. The caregiver’s reason for concern was because she could sense the despair in this young woman’s eyes at now not having any teeth to present herself with for future employment. I calmly explained that our clinic had no provisions to make immediate dentures, but she was not deterred. So, at this point, I brought in Dr. Cullinan to see if there were any available resources in Naples to help this young woman out. And that’s where I left her — in Dr. Cullinan’s capable hands. I moved on to other problems that needed to be solved and completely forgot about the situation.

Fast-forward 24 hours to Saturday afternoon, when I was helping break down the clinical equipment and box it up to transport out when again, who do I see but the advocate bounding straight for me — this time with a huge smile on her face.  She thanked me profusely for helping the young woman the day before, and told me that due to Dr. Cullinan’s persistence, she was fitted for a same-day denture courtesy of Dr. Reza Iranmanesh, our wonderful lead prosthodontist. “This will change her life!” she proudly exclaimed as my eyes began to mist over. She then embraced me in a wonderful heartfelt hug of thanks —  more payment than I ever expected, but so gladly accepted.

If you’re looking to help change the lives of so many in need as well as receive much more payment than you would ever get in a typical week at the office, I urge you to join us in Orlando in March 2019 for the FDA Foundation’s next FLA-MOM. It will change your life, too.

 

Dr. Palo is a member of the FDA Board of Trustees and an alternate to the American Dental Association 17th District Delegation. He is a general dentist in Winter Haven, Fla. and can be reached at ppalo@bot.floridadental.org.

 

The 2016 FLA-MOM is HERE!

By the FDA Foundation

The 2016 Florida Mission of Mercy (FLA-MOM) in Jacksonville is TOMORROW!

We have received such a wonderful response from our clinical and general volunteers — we are extremely grateful for their generous spirit to donate their time and skills to care for the citizens in the Jacksonville area. The FLA-MOM committee has gone to great lengths to make this a fantastic event for our volunteers, but most importantly, for our guests themselves — the patients we will be treating!

Over the course of the next two days, our amazing group of volunteers is supporting an effort that will make a life-changing impact for 3,000 community members. Clinical volunteers have a unique role in providing professional care and treatment for people who, for many reasons, lack access to care. The core clinical philosophy of the FLA-MOM is to improve the overall health of individuals by relieving pain and infection, restoring dignity and creating smiles.

On behalf of the FDA Foundation, its Board of Directors and the FLA-MOM planning committee, we would like to thank everyone involved from the bottom of our hearts.


Make sure you follow us on Facebook (Florida Dental Association) and Twitter (FDADental) — we will be posting throughout the event, and encouraging those involved to post using #FLAMOM.

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Volunteering in Dentistry

By Dr. Natalie Bustillo, FDA Foundation Board of Directors

Volunteerism is an honored tradition in the United States and around the world, touted as a celebration of the spirit of community involvement. Certainly, our community is familiar with philanthropic work. In fact, it’s estimated that Florida’s almost 10,000 dentists may donate as much as $15,000-$30,000 in free care and treatment each year.

Some people volunteer because they want to help people, others do it for a particular cause and some volunteer to make new friends. Whatever your reason, it’s clear that volunteering provides a number of benefits.

Trying to figure out what volunteer opportunity to choose can be a confusing and time-consuming process. How do you know that the organization is doing good work? Will the project be the right fit for you? If you’ve contemplated volunteering but don’t know where to begin, ask yourself the following questions:

1. How much time do I have? It’s always better to wait until you know you have the time for community service. Consider whether you are seeking an ongoing, a short-term or a one-time assignment.

2. What causes or issues are important to me? Look for opportunities that meet your interests.

3. What skills and experience do I have to share? Many organizations are looking for qualified professionals to serve communities in need, whether overseas or right here in the United States.

4. What level of physical activity can I manage? It’s important that you be honest with yourself regarding the types of volunteer positions that are a good fit for you given your health and well-being.

5. With whom do I want to work? Do you want to work independently or with a team? Do you want to work alone, or with a group?

Once you have identified your expectations, ask your friends or colleagues about their own philanthropic activities. It’s likely that your friends will have similar interests and can suggest opportunities that are a good fit for you. The Internet has great online volunteer referral services as does your local library. If your interest is in providing dental care to underserved populations or dental health education to youth, I suggest you start with the FDA Foundation — the 2016 Florida Mission of Mercy is right around the corner and we still need volunteers! This is the perfect opportunity to sign up to volunteer your time and services to those in greatest need!

For more information and to sign up to volunteer, go to www.flamom.org. Don’t delay — volunteer registration closes on March 1!