Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Fri, Aug. 19

Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy, Hopi volunteers help provide free dental care for 414 people

Hopi community health representatives volunteer their time at the Arizona Dental of Mission of Mercy event held in June where free dental care was offered to residents of northern Arizona. (Photos/Hopi Community Health Representatives Program)

Hopi community health representatives volunteer their time at the Arizona Dental of Mission of Mercy event held in June where free dental care was offered to residents of northern Arizona. (Photos/Hopi Community Health Representatives Program)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — An Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy event in Flagstaff in June provided $540,000 in dental care to 414 people at Ft. Tuthill’s commercial building with more than 600 volunteer dentists, hygienists and lab technicians on hand to help provide free care.

Fifty dental chairs were used to provide comprehensive dental care with efforts focused on alleviating pain and infection by providing dental treatments such as fillings, extractions, cleanings and limited lab work including dentures for people of all ages.

“We are thrilled that the CADS Foundation again brought the Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy Program to Flagstaff,” said Dr. Dale Hallberg, co-clinic floor lead and Flagstaff dentist. “The 2022 AZMOM North event helped hundreds of people in our community with their immediate oral health needs.”

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Hopi community health representatives volunteer their time at the Arizona Dental of Mission of Mercy event held in June where free dental care was offered to residents of northern Arizona. (Photos/Hopi Community Health Representatives Program)

Arizona discontinued adult dental AHCCCS benefits in 2010 during the budget cuts of the great recession. While some benefits were restored in the recent election, the demand during Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation (CADSF) events shows the most vulnerable members of the community still need access to low- or no- cost dental care.

“There are too many people falling through the cracks that are struggling with day-to-day life and need help,” said Ann Hammi-Blue, D.D.S, CADSF Board president. “Having dental health gives these people a chance to focus on things other than pain or infection, helps them to better access potential jobs, plus it unburdens our emergency health care system that individuals use to relieve pain and infection if they can’t access dental care.”

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A Hopi community health representatives enters patient information at the Arizona Dental of Mission of Mercy event held in June at Fort Tuthill in Flagstaff. (Photos/Hopi Community Health Representatives Program)

This is the second year the Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy has hosted an event in Flagstaff. Northern Arizona residents who were not able to attend the event are encouraged to follow www.azmom.org for the latest updates on the next free dental event in Arizona.

“We also work to provide dental education to these patients in need so they understand a small ongoing investment will help to alleviate these larger, painful issues,” said Hammi-Blue. “Preventative dental care is about the cost of a cup of coffee each day.”

AZ MOM, or Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy events occur throughout the year, but there are still individuals facing homelessness that have been unable to attend for a variety of reasons. CADSF and partners are creating additional focused events to meet these ongoing needs.

CADSF relies on sponsorships and grants to fund its free dental care events. For the AZMOM North clinic, donors include Del E. Webb Foundation, Delta Dental of Arizona, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Mercy Care, the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services and numerous other corporate sponsors and individual donors.

“Delta Dental of Arizona is dedicated to increasing access to oral health care and education for all individuals and families statewide. Without focused, intentional effort to support those within our community who do not have access to affordable, preventative care and oral health education, we cannot achieve this goal,” says Michael Jones, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Arizona. “Through events like AZ MOM, as well as programs such as Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation’s Impact and Community Grants, which recently awarded more than $140,000 in grants across northern Arizona to organizations including North Country Healthcare, the Northern Arizona Council of Governments Head Start Program, Flagstaff Medical Center and Verde Valley Medical Center, Delta Dental is proactively working to improve the oral health of more Arizonans every single day.”

Information provided by Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy

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