Free Dental Clinic set for Oct. 13-14 in Waterloo
WATERLOO – Dentists planning the 14th annual Iowa Mission of Mercy (IMOM), along with Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart, announced today that Waterloo will host the large-scale, free dental clinic this year on October 13-14 at the Waterloo Convention Center at Sullivan Brothers Plaza. The IMOM clinic provides a wide variety of free dental procedures such as fillings, extractions, root canals, and cleanings, regardless of income and insurance. Free childcare will be available for patients attending the clinic. More details about the clinic can be found at iowamom.org.
“We appreciate that the IMOM steering committee has identified our community to benefit from the critical dental services being provided for two days this October,” said Mayor Hart. “The Cedar Valley has been extremely supportive of the return of this free dental clinic, and it wouldn’t be possible without the community’s backing.”
IMOM has been held in various cities across the state to better meet the needs of Iowans who for any number of reasons cannot afford or access dental care. Dr. Christopher Aldrich, Waterloo dentist and IMOM Local Committee Co-Chair, has been working with other IMOM organizers since January. “Even though dental care and an individual’s well-being go hand-in-hand, there are various circumstances that often contribute to a person not seeking regular dental care. Whether it’s due to an unfortunate financial situation, transportation limitations, lack of education, or a variety of other circumstances, IMOM offers an alternative to the traditional dental care setting and we are fortunate as members of the Cedar Valley Community that it is coming right to us!” said Dr. Aldrich. “Patients will receive top notch care and treatment throughout the entire event. From a warm greeting to great dentistry, the experience the volunteers produce for patients is absolutely amazing.”
IMOM has been in Waterloo twice before, including the inaugural IMOM in 2008, at which time 1,254 patients were served and $602,000 of free oral care was provided. IMOM returned to Waterloo in 2014, when 1,112 patients were served and over $768,000 of free oral care was provided. Waterloo retired dentist and IMOM Local Committee Co-Chair, Dr. Martin Averill, has been involved with IMOM since its inception. Over the past fifteen years more than 16,600 patients have received free dental care totaling over $11.5 million. “IMOM is a ‘no questions asked’ clinic that allows patients to address their dental issues no matter what barriers they have experienced in the past,” said Dr. Averill. “Our goal is that everyone who receives treatment has their life changed for the better….some a little, some a lot!”
Officials also announced they are welcoming volunteers. While patients see certified dental professionals, there is also a need for general volunteers to serve as interpreters, lead the patients through the clinic, check in volunteers, and assist in other important roles to make sure the clinic runs smoothly. “IMOM is a great service to the patients and it’s also an incredibly gratifying experience for the volunteers,” said Dr. Averill.
“Whether you are a dental professional or a general volunteer, you are needed! The feeling of positivity and community you will take with you after volunteering makes it worthwhile,” said Dr. Aldrich. People interested in volunteering can learn more information and sign up at iowamom.org.
Patients at the Iowa Mission of Mercy are seen on a first come, first served basis. Doors to the clinic open at 6 a.m. on Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14. Dental services include x-rays, cleanings, extractions, fillings, and a limited number of partial dentures also known as “flippers.” Because of time and resources, the clinic cannot provide crowns, implants, dentures, or wisdom teeth extractions.
The Iowa Mission of Mercy is a large scale, two-day community dental clinic where dental professionals and general volunteers donate their time to provide free oral healthcare to individuals who face barriers to receiving dental care.