Dental care is either altogether unavailable, or is an unaffordable luxury, for most that we serve. Mission of Mercy patients usually arrive at the clinic with significant decay, infection, and pain. Untreated infections are the most serious concern, as they can lead to serious illness or death. Extractions and filings are the remedy for most patients, and healing is usually swift.
Mission of Mercy’s dental program is fully mobile; operating with a portable treatment chair, x-ray machine, light, high-speed autoclave, multiple sets of prepackaged instruments, hand tools, compressor, and auxiliary electric generator.
Along with fillings and extractions, visits also include a dental exam, x-rays and instruction on proper dental hygiene. When available, toothbrushes and dental floss are also provided.
Tracy M. had terrible tooth pain that led to severe, debilitating migraines. She was uninsured, unable to work for almost a year. Not having the funds to go to a private dentist, she tried to take care of the problem herself, going through nearly an entire bottle of over-the-counter tooth pain medication a day.
Her pain led to trouble with her equilibrium, and she couldn’t bend over to do basic tasks around the house, including getting her daughter ready for school. The situation was so bad, that Tracy decided she could no longer care for her daughter at home. She took her daughter to her sister’s house, telling the little girl she would have to stay there until her mommy got better.
A few weeks later, she heard about Mission of Mercy’s dental care. She came to the next clinic, arriving at 2 a.m. to wait until the clinic opened. The dentist’s first words when he saw her were “Oh my!” Tracy had a raging infection in her mouth that prevented him from doing any extractions that day, so he gave her the medications she needed to clear up the infection and asked her to come back in 14 days. She returned, and received the dental care she so desperately needed. After her visit, she ran to the nearest public telephone to call her sister, to tell her she was ready to pick up her little girl.
She describes the feeling of relief and happiness she had at being able to stand up straight again, and to wake up each day without a raging headache. Best of all, she’s happy to be able to care for her little girl again! She has also found work as a nursing home assistant.
Are you a dentist who is looking for a fulfilling way to give back to the community? We are sorely i need of volunteer dentists for our Gettysburg clinic. Please call 301-682-5683 for more information.
“Volunteering as a dentist with Mission of Mercy is a calling that I feel gives back to our community. It’s a good way for me to thank God for the blessings of my family and practice.”
– T.L. Llewellyn, D.D.S., volunteer at the Reisterstown clinic for 10-plus years