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Thursday, 21 November 2013 10:07

Oregon Mission of Mercy Featured

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post 70 picThe Dental Community Addresses Access to Care

The Oregon Dental Association is hosting our fourth Mission of Mercy event on Monday & Tuesday, November 25th & 26th. 

Oregon Mission of Mercy is a dental clinic with 100 portable dental stations set up in an exhibit hall at the Oregon Convention Center. 

Dental screenings and services are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, at no charge to those who attend.  MOM combines the donated services of hundreds of dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental lab technicians and an array of other community volunteers to provide these free dental services.

The ODA Board of Trustees has said that they would like to see OrMOM programs alternate between Portland and other communities in the state. 

The first two OrMOM clinics were held in Portland, the third was in Medford, and the 2014 clinic will be held in Salem, July 11-12. 

In the three years we have held OrMOM clinics, we have provided a total of $2.8 million of treatment (that’s 23,695 procedures and 4,601 patient visits)!

How does it work?
Patients arrive on-site, register for services, and are asked to fill out and sign a health and release form. 

Since patients are treated on a first-come, first-serve basis, the patients wait in line until it is their turn with a dentist.  Patients first go through medical triage, to make sure they are healthy enough to receive treatment. 

Then they are funneled through an initial screening where the volunteer dentist determines what procedures are needed and wanted.  Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of patients and time constraints, the dentists are not able to address every dental problem.  Each patient, healthy enough to receive treatment, is guaranteed one procedure.
During the screening, the volunteer dentist determines which procedures would most benefit the patient.  

At that point, respective of the patients' needs, the patients are channeled either to the cleaning, extraction, or restorative area(s) for their dental work.  If their treatment plan requires an x-ray be taken, they’ll have that taken care of before they are brought into the clinic.
Volunteer dental professionals are required to fill out patient intake forms for each patient served, tracking the number of procedures performed. 

If a patient needs operative care (extractions, etc.), he or she receives a post-op form that includes a local social service agency's telephone and contact name.  Should the individual experience complications in the days immediately following the clinic, the agency contact can refer him or her to a local dentist who has agreed to see MOM patients for emergency follow-up care.

How does someone receive services at OrMOM?
They come and wait in line.  Patients are seen on a first come, first serve basis.  We have seen potential patients begin lining up hours before the first patient is seen at 6am, in order to have the best chance of receiving treatment, sometimes while braving inclement weather. 

Once the total number of patients we can see each day have been registered, no additional patients can be seen.  

What kind of services are provided at OrMOM?
Our main goal is to relieve pain and restore smiles.  We provide extractions, fillings and cleanings as well as some other dental procedures that can be appropriately done in a mission setting.  We do not provide cosmetic dentistry or braces.


  • Cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Root canals on front teeth
  • A limited number of partial dentures
  • Extractions
  • Oral health education
  • X-rays


  • Full dentures
  • Dental implants
  • Root canals on molars
  • Crowns
  • Extractions of unexposed wisdom teeth
  • Narcotics will not be dispensed

Who can volunteer?
Anyone!  We need dental providers and their staff, especially on Tuesday, November 26th, but we also need community members to help with the non-clinical logistics of this massive dental clinic.  Register to volunteer at

Read 5012 times Last modified on Thursday, 21 November 2013 11:11

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