Nearly Two Thousand People Receive Over $1,000,000 Worth Of Free Dental Care

After two days of patients coming through the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center, nearly 2,000 were able to walk out with a brighter smile.

They were able to have a teeth cleaning, pulling or filling all for free.

The Arkansas Mission of Mercy has been traveling the state providing dental care free of charge for the last eight years.

Over 850 volunteers including 150 dentists came out to Springdale Friday (May 16) and Saturday (May 17) to donate their time and expertise to help anyone and everyone who walked through the door.

Dr. Mark Bailey has been practicing dentistry in Waldron for the last thirty years. He said working two marathon days providing care for those who need it most is his favorite part of his job.

“This has been one of the most, if not the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my practice.”

Dr. Bailey said he saw people from every walk of life sit in his chair this past two days.

“We dedicate our time and our abilities to come and serve those that aren’t necessarily in our neighborhoods,” Bailey said, “But they need it, and we take all-comers, it doesn’t matter if you’re Sam Walton or a street person… we’ll work on you and we are glad to do that.”

Patients Tony Newton and Tom Meredith said they both appreciate the quality of work they saw the volunteers doing at the clinic Saturday.

“Every one of them needs to be appreciated for what they’re doing,” Meredith said, “I didn’t understand how big of deal this was until I got here, and it is great.”

Meredith served in the military for two decades. He said he hasn’t had dental insurance in over thirty years.

Newton also doesn’t have dental insurance, but he said even more than the free service, he appreciated how warm and welcoming the volunteers were to everyone that came.

“You never know what people are going through and what their reasons are for needing free services are,” Newton said, “And you don’t make those assumptions with how they look or how they dress, so that’s one thing I really appreciated about how the people, the workers and the volunteers have responded to each person, no matter what.”

Organizers said that they estimate over $1,000,000 worth of care was provided to the patients.

The dentists and hygienists do receive more than just the satisfaction of volunteering their time. For every half day they worked at the clinic, they get two credit hours that count towards their continuing education credit.

Organizers said next year’s Arkansas Mission for Mercy will be in Little Rock.

For more information on the first day of the free dental clinic in Springdale, click here.

8 comments

  • Sarah 1

    From Northwest Arkansas we send a hearty thank you for all the dental work and the smiling volunteers. God bless you each and every one!

  • soonerfan

    This is great. Wish this could happen more. Not just here but all over. Help our people and take care of our people. Thanks to all of the volunteers.

  • Elaphas

    Good for those people. However, the fact that 2,000 showing up for FREE dental care is CELEBRATED is ironic. The liberal mindset of treating people like they are irreversibly downtrodden and dependent on others contradicts the very ideals of which this country was founded. It also tells you how far America has fallen economically in the past 6 years under the FAILED policies of O’blunder the Liar. But alas, I’m sure the “chosen one” has a plan to screw you out of your dentist (if you have one).

    • The Defender of the Poor

      Such a poor reflection on such a ‘giving’ two days of helping.

      I suggest hitching your wagon to Tom Cotton. He will stop expanded Medicaid in Arkansas that help keep poverty stricken people healthy, also raise the age of receiving Medicare to seventy, make Medicare a voucher program, he is against helping victims of natural disasters (inclusive of Arkansas) and promises the Koch Brothers, who finance his campaign to let big business expand without safety oversight. Cotton was the only member of the Arkansas delegation to vote against the Violence Against Women Act, Cotton voted against the Farm Bill for Arkansas, and in December 2013, Cotton’s campaign manager admitted their own town hall meetings were actually taxpayer funded exercises in gaining votes. He also voted to support a one billion dollar no fly zone over Syria? People come first. Our military is the largest of all other militaries in the world. One drone could make Syria a parking lot if it was so decided.  We have to use our power judiciously.  Just the facts.

      Thank you again for the volunteers and everyone who gave of their time and resources. If anyone tries to make you feel inferior or bad for using needed aid, just ignore them. Their time will come.

    • Bob Gnarly

      @Ela:
      Such a beautiful and generous event and this is your take on it? Nowhere is it stated that those who received treatment are “irreversibly downtrodden”. Many dental conditions require immediate attention and thanks to these wonderful volunteers many people got that.

      Perhaps the fumes from your daily feeding at the trough behind Rush Limpbaugh’s chair have skewed your vision.

      Would you like a stick of gum?

  • Kim

    I think this is great – I have insurance so didnt
    Go but even with insurance I’m paying 300.00
    For fillings because alot of dentists won’t
    Use the silver fillings anymore! It’s a great
    Thing because everything is so expensive
    Now

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