Arkansas Mission of Mercy
Written by: Dr. Natalia Hodge
This past weekend I had the privilege of participating in the Arkansas Mission of Mercy. This event, also known as ArMOM, is an event where dentists from all parts of the state provide free dental treatment for underserved Arkansans. This year the event took place at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. As an orthodontist, I myself wondered if I was going to be able to participate. There was no way I could perform orthodontic treatment in just two days! But before anyone becomes an orthodontist, they are trained as a general dentist. So this was a unique opportunity to put those skills learned in dental school to good use.
I figured my extraction and restorative skills are pretty rusty and I would end up holding things back if I tried to use them, so I helped with pediatric and adult triage. At the triage station, a group of dentists examined patients and determined what kind of treatment they needed. The treatments offered included extractions, fillings, root canals, cleaning and simple partial dentures, popularly known as “flippers”. In total, we treated 1,383 patients over the course of the event.
My participation was just a tiny little drop in the bucket. It takes hundreds of volunteers to make something of this magnitude happen. I’m happy to say that there were hundreds of people glad to participate. Volunteers had various important roles, like entertaining kids while they waited in line, directing patients to where they needed to be, serving food to those who waited hours to be seen, making sure the dentists had the equipment they needed, and performing hundreds of fillings and extractions.
I’m so impressed that the dental community can get together and help so many people in so little time. I’m honored to be a part of this event and look forward to participating with my team next year!
To learn more about ArMOM, visit http://www.arkansasmissionofmercy.org/.