Eager patients began lining up at 6:00 a.m. hoping to have an opportunity to receive much-needed free dental care at Mission of Mercy. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Dental Society (NVDS), this event was hosted by the Medical Education Campus (MEC) on March 13 and 14. In its 12th year, the event offers free dental care to underserved members of the local community.
This year, Mission of Mercy helped 877 patients and provided services valuing $550,000. The services included 807 routine exams, 200 cleanings, 1,058 X-rays, 805 composite fillings, 442 extractions, 50 root canals and one oral biopsy. There were 129 dentists, 59 hygienists, 99 dental assistants, six NOVA dental hygiene students, eight NOVA dental assistant students and more than 200 community volunteers.
On the day of Mission of Mercy clinic, a line of tables split the two sides of the clinic, and the tables were covered with every supply known to dentistry. Dr. Peter Cocolis, a member of NVDS who practices in Springfield, Virginia, said practicing out of NOVA’s Dental Clinic is second only to being in his own office. Everything he could dream of needing for patient care was available.
Patients were triaged with professionals taking their vital signs to ensure they were in adequate health to receive care. Once patients made it to the front of the line, the sticker they wore routed them for X-rays, cleanings or other services.
Many patients have been experiencing severe pain for years, but simply have not had the financial means to seek treatment. After treatment by Dr. David Hughes, one patient jumped out of her chair yelling, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
Senators Barbara Favola and Dave Marsden and delegates Kenneth Plum and Eileen Filler-Corn visited during this exceptional day of volunteerism and service.