Special Olympics athletes to receive free dental care at WDA Mission of Mercy

WEST ALLIS, WIS., May 20, 2015 – The Wisconsin Dental Association and WDA Foundation are teaming up with Special Olympics Wisconsin to identify 35 athletes who will receive needed oral health care at the seventh Mission of Mercy being held June 12 and 13 in Fond du Lac, Wis.

A team of dentists, dental hygienists and assistants have again volunteered to treat the Special Olympics athletes, many of whom have additional medical considerations.

The WDA is the only state dental association nationwide that provides care to Special Olympics athletes at its Mission of Mercy events. Since 2011, an estimated $64,619 in restorative and preventive dental care has been provided to 113 special athletes at no cost to them, their families or SOWI.

The athletes, who range in age from 12 – 60, were screened for urgent dental needs at recent Special Olympics competitions held across the Badger State through the organization’s Healthy Athletes® project. That program provides health care screenings and testing to athletes at no cost.

“Athletes receive dental health screenings, oral hygiene education and prevention services several times a year through Special Olympics Special Smiles®. However, obtaining follow-up dental treatment can be difficult for many individuals,“ Special Olympics Wisconsin Director of Athlete Wellness Initiatives Melissa Schoenbrodt said.

“Our athletes’ oral health is critical to their success both on and off the playing field, so we are grateful for the opportunity to again partner with the WDA and WDA Foundation at MOM,” Schoenbrodt added.

The 2015 WDA Mission of Mercy will be held at the Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds Expo Center, 601 Martin Ave. Doors to this large-scale, charitable, dental clinic open at 5:30 a.m. both days. Individuals seeking dental care should line up outside of the tent marked “Patient Entrance” located at the front corner of the building.

There are no appointments for the general public. Care is provided on a first-come, first-served basis to about 1,000 patients daily. Early arrival is encouraged, because available patient slots typically fill by 10 a.m.

Individuals of all ages are welcome. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Spanish, Hmong and American Sign Language interpreters will be available to assist patients.

No photo identification, Social Security number or other personal ID/documentation is required. However, medically-compromising conditions, such as extremely high blood pressure or severe disabilities, may prohibit an individual from receiving care.

An estimated $1 million in cleanings, fillings, extractions, limited treatment partials and personal oral hygiene education will be provided through 2,000 or more patient encounters.

The free care will be delivered by more than 1,000 volunteers, including dentists, dental hygienists and assistants, Marquette University School of Dentistrystudents and community members.

Major financial and in-kind support is provided by Delta Dental of Wisconsin Charitable FundHenry Schein Dental and Walmart Foundation. Delta Dental, Dr. Tim and Sue Durtsche, Henry Schein, Kwik Trip and Valley Expo and Displays have supported all seven WDA MOM programs.

More than 40 organizations and individuals have made tax-deductible financial and in-kind donations to help cover $183,000 in costs for equipment and facility rental, supplies, pharmaceuticals and food for this major charitable dental care event which includes one day each for setup and cleanup.

WDA dentists and other MOM volunteers donate $6 – $8 in care for every dollar received. More than 13,000 children and adults have received in excess of $7.1 million in donated care at WDA Mission of Mercy events since 2009.

Visit the WDA Foundation donor page to help provide financial support to MOM and other charitable care and oral hygiene education outreach efforts.

“The WDA Mission of Mercy is a dentist-led, community-based approach that provides care now to people suffering from untreated dental disease, strengthens and expands the public-private safety net and brings disease prevention and education into communities,” 2015 WDA Mission of Mercy State Chair Dr. Tom Raimann, of Hales Corners, Wis., said.


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