Free dental care offered to needy

Published 3:00 am Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Minnesota Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Foundation are bringing the Minnesota Mission of Mercy to southern Minnesota on Friday and Saturday to provide free dental care to children and adults who face barriers to accessing dental care.

The Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato was chosen as the site to accommodate the massive dental clinic which will treat as many as 2,000 patients from a wide geographic area. The signature sponsor of the event is Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation.

Free care being provided includes cleanings, fillings, extractions and limited treatment for partial dental appliances. There is no advance sign-up and patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis each day. The doors open at 5:30 a.m. and early arrival is encouraged.

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The free care is being provided by more than 1,000 volunteers, including dentists from Minnesota and surrounding states, as well as hygienists, dental assistants, translators and lay volunteers. The first Minnesota Mission of Mercy was held in Mankato in 2012 and resulted in 2,000 patient visits.

“We are returning to the Mankato area to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people and to highlight the large unmet need out there,” said Dr. Michael Perpich, a practicing dentist and president of the Minnesota Dental Association. “Clearly, vulnerable people are not receiving the dental treatment they need. Until this problem is solved, the MDA will continue to work with lawmakers on a better solution to improve the broken public system.”

Volunteer dentists are prepared to provide care to 2,000 patients. Dental services not provided are implants, crowns and root canals on molars, full dentures and removal of unexposed wisdom teeth.

Adults and children of all ages who do not have a medically compromising condition that prohibits safe treatment are welcome. There will be no photo identification, social security number or any other personal documentation required. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

To learn more about the event, or to volunteer, go to: