130 patients helped at dental event in Abingdon


The Virginia Dental Association Foundation and the Appalachian Highlands Community Dental Center, in conjunction with members of the dental residency program at Johnston Memorial Hospital, provided free dental extractions to 130 patients during the latest Abingdon Mini-MOM (Mission of Mercy) event, held March 2-4.

Through a partnership with Dr. Michael McCracken, Dr. Scott Miller and Mission Dental Virginia, the Appalachian Highlands Community Dental Center provides effective and affordable oral health care to underserved and uninsured individuals and families in Southwest Virginia. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit community dental clinic located in Abingdon to provide oral health care to uninsured and recovery program adults. The AHCDC provides direct care to vulnerable populations on a sliding fee scale. However, all care provided at the Mini-MOM event was free to patients.

The VDAF provides free dental care through various direct service programs, including the Mission of Mercy (MOM) mobile dental projects, Donated Dental Services (DDS), and Give Kids a Smile!. The MOM program was created in 2000 by Dr. Terry Dickinson, former executive director of the Virginia Dental Association. Since its inception, the program has provided more than $49.6 million worth of free dental care to over 70,000 Virginia patients at pop-up locations across the Commonwealth. The VDAF’s MOM and Mini-MOM events are supported by the Virginia Dept. of Health, UnitedHealthcare, United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund, Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, DentaQuest, Delta Dental of Virginia, the Oral Health Foundation of the Pierre Fauchard Academy, and others.

Over the two and a half-day event, 130 Southwest Virginia patients received a total of 693 free dental extractions, exams and oral cancer screenings. Several alveoloplasties and root canals were also performed. The total value of care provided was $161,907. Numerous volunteers assisted in the project, including dentists, dental residents and dental students, dental hygienists and dental hygiene students, dental assistants and dental assisting students, and general volunteers.

Dr. Scott Miller of the AHCDC shared this statement:

“The Appalachian Highlands Community Dental Center has made a major impact on dental access in SWVA. This Dental Residency Clinic has become the region’s largest Medicaid Clinic. Our dentists have seen over 10,000 patients since we opened March 13, 2020. The need is never-ending, and the clinic receives between 30-50 new patient calls per day. Unfortunately, there is only so much dentistry 5 dental residents can do sharing 7 dental chairs with one hygienist. We will have 7 residents in the class of 2023-24 and be able to see more patients. However, we must have more dental chairs to accommodate the increase in Dental Providers. Our clinic has a two-phased expansion plan and construction will begin soon. This is a 2 million dollar project and funding is still desperately needed. Any donation would be greatly appreciated and can be made out to Mission Dental Virginia (501c3 Non-Profit) located at 616 Campus Drive, Abingdon, VA 24210.”

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