A total of 885 underserved members of the local community began arriving at Northern Virginia Community College’s Medical Education Campus (MEC), to receive free dental care at Mission of Mercy (MOM). Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Dental Society (NVDS), the widely anticipated two-day event was hosted by the MEC on March 11 and 12. In its 13th year, Mission of Mercy provided free dental care services valued at $637,394.
The four general categories of dental care offered; hygiene (cleanings), restorative (fillings) endodontics (root canals) and extractions (oral surgery) provided relief to patients in need of care, but who lacked the financial means to seek treatment. The services included 834 routine exams, 119 cleanings, 659 X-rays, 1,400 composite fillings, 321 routine extractions, 284 surgical extractions, 42 root canals, 166 gross debridement, two pulpotomies and one oral biopsy. There were 107 local dentists, 45 hygienists, 128 dental assistants, 23 NOVA dental hygiene students, 10 NOVA dental assistant students and 180 community volunteers who offered their time at no charge.
Throughout the two day event, patients were triaged with professionals taking their vital signs to ensure they were in adequate health to receive care. Dr. James Willis, chairman of the MOM committee, said the NVDS is always appreciative and very fortunate to offer free dental services annually to patients out of NOVA’s state-of-the-art Dental Clinic.
“We always register close to 1,300 patients from Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, Prince William and Loudon counties each year,” Willis said. “Along with providing services to many patients that have been experiencing pain or are in need of dental care, our main goal is to educate patients about oral health and encourage local dentists and volunteers to support the community through volunteerism.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) visited and offered support during Mission of Mercy as well as toured the MEC’s state-of-the-art facilities.
NVDS and NOVA extend their gratitude to the following individuals and organizations that assisted, providing equipment and volunteers for the 2016 MOM project: Aribex, 3M, Baran Dental Laboratory, Benco Dental, Dental Technology Center, Dentsply Tulsa Dental, Dexis, Henry Schein, INOVA Health System, Komet, Lions Club, Northern Virginia Community College, Northern Virginia Dental Clinic, Northern Virginia Dental Hygienists Association, NOVA ScriptsCentral, Patterson Dental, Reston Shirt & Graphic Company, Septodont, Team Placement, The Prentice Group, Trademasters, Trail Life 2215 and Ultradent.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.