“More than 200 dentists volunteered to work two days straight for more than 12 hours a day,” KSDK reports. The volunteers were able to treat at 2,000 patients, but even that wasn’t enough. The clinic opened a half-hour earlier on the second day, and dentists still had to turn away more than 100 people per day. “Experts say it’s a sign of a major problem,” KSDK continues.
Dentists provided “412 cleanings, 903 fillings, and 2,249 extractions for people unable to afford dental care,” according to Fox News. Most patients did not have dental insurance. “According to a recent Gallup poll, only 59 percent of Missourians have visited a dentist in the past year, which is a figure that’s among the worst in the nation,” KSDK explains. Still, for many, routine visits to dentist are not feasibly and financially possible. Insurance companies fail to cover fairly common procedures, such as dental bridges and dental implants. Dentists craft dental bridges — or replacements for missing teeth — for example, from Zirconium oxide. The strong, dental ceramic is perfectly safe to use as it is compatible with the human body. In most cases, these replacements are not merely aesthetic. Patients also need them to comfortably chew and consume certain foods.
The event took place on Friday and Saturday, May 2 through May 3, at Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena. Missouri Mission of Mercy and the Missouri Dental Association sponsored the charitable event. “This was an effort to make a dent in a problem. Oral health is an under-appreciated thing until you’re in pain,” an event organizer, Stuart White, told KSDK. The Missouri Dental Association wants to hear from patients who were unable to receive necessary dental care at the clinic. They invite people to speak up on their website, momom.org.