PITTSBURG — Kansas Mission of Mercy free dental clinic organizers plan to treat an estimated 1,600 patients during a two-day dental clinic.
There any many people in the area that lack either time or funding for care for fillings, extractions and dental hygiene. Local Orthodontist Gina Pinamonti, DDS, said people who usually go without this type of care may have the opportunity to do so through the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation’s 18th Kansas Mission of Mercy free dental clinic.
“It’s just an amazing feeling, so many people say you get more than you receive,” Pinamonti said. “It’s through all of this giving, to see patients smile and see people overcome some fears they may have, it means the world.
“That’s why we are bringing this here. It’s a lot of time and effort but worth every minute of it.”
The project is hosted across Kansas for many years and is now making a reappearance in southeast Kansas. The clinic is set for April 26 and April 27 a the Robert W. Plaster Center/Weed Physical Education building at Pittsburg State University. The clinic doors will open at 5:30 a.m. on both days.
At the clinic, there will be three departments which patients can choose from; cleaning only, operative or filling teeth, or oral surgery to get a tooth or teeth removed. There is also a department for children too.
There are no appointments or reservations and patients will be seen on a first come, first served basis. People do not have to qualify for anything, nothing will be taken out of insurance, nor will any money come out of federal or state. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.
According to a release, support for the project comes entirely from donations and grants and uses no state or federal funding. Local coordinators are making contacts within the community to gain both monetary and in-kind support for the project, as well as recruiting the hundreds of community volunteers necessary to make the Kansas Mission of Mercy a success, the release said.
This project will cost nearly $160,000, but will leave behind approximately $1.2 million of donated dental care in return, Pinamonti said.
“We hope to bring $1.2 to $1.5 million of free dental care at medicaid rates,” Pinamonti said.
The clinic will include an estimated 70 dental chairs and it is expected that nearly 1,000 volunteers, consisting of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, medical personnel, and community volunteers will donate their time and talents to treat patients.
Volunteer opportunities include: breakfast and lunch crews; parking lot attendance; patient escort; clean up crew; patient registration; translators for patient communication; exit interviews and data entry.
People who wish to volunteer may visit the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation website to sign up and learn more at www.ksdentalfoundation.org. Sign-ups begin on March 11.
Pinamonti said many times, the clinic reaches capacity before the afternoon.
The clinic will be using the university’s sign at the corner of Ford and Rouse Streets to let prospective patients know it will be closed for the rest of the day. Patients can enter the Kansas Technology Center parking which is the entrance to the Plaster Center parking lot.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.