Oklahoma Mission of Mercy (OkMOM) is a two-day free dental clinic event designed to treat the most pressing oral health needs of patients who are uninsured, underinsured or would not normally have access to dental care.
The event is produced in partnership by the Oklahoma Dental Association (ODA), Oklahoma Dental Foundation (ODF) and the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation (DDOK-OHF) and endorsed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The president of the ODA works diligently on the event to ensure its success. This year’s president, Dr. Edmund Braly, DDS, believes participating in OkMOM is the epitome of what it means to be a dental professional.
“OkMOM provides a very organized, efficient, ethical, and safe outlet which can deliver top quality care to thousands of Oklahomans,” Braly said. “The most important function of being a health care professional is providing service, time and care to one’s fellow men.”
At the event, patients undergo medical and dental triage to identify their needs before they are routed to the appropriate areas of treatment: oral surgery, extractions, restorations, pediatrics and hygiene.
The 2017 OkMOM will take place on Feb. 3 and 4 in Woodward, Okla., home of Northwestern Electric Cooperative. As the 2017 OkMOM Chair and ODA member, local dentist Trent Yadon’s volunteerism of time and talent is rooted in what he believes is his duty.
“I am not aware of any other healthcare profession that provides or sponsors such a huge gift of free care in Oklahoma,” Braly said.
Executive Director of the ODF John Wilguess, is quick to echo Braly’s sentiments.
“OkMOM is the single best example of medical professionals in our state seeing a situation with no traditional fix and taking matters into their own hands to help those in dental need,” Wilguess said.
To ensure the success of such a large event, hundreds of dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental and dental hygiene students, and lay volunteers come from across the state to provide over $1 million of free care each year.
John Gladden, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Oklahoma and Oral Health Foundation Chair, agrees that without committed volunteers, OkMOM would not thrive year after year.
“OkMOM simply would not happen without the ODA’s efforts to enlist the participation of its members,” Gladden said. “Participation with the event is deeply rewarding and has become an annual tradition for many volunteers, both professionals and laymen.”
DDOK-OHF, the primary funder for the event, contributes $100,000 annually. In addition, many Delta Dental of Oklahoma employees volunteer hundreds of hours in preparation for and during the event.
Since 2010, OkMOM has treated 12,175 patients for a total of $8,742,959 in donated dental services. Yadon believes this success is owed to great need meeting the vital complement of a willing workforce.
“This being the eighth year of the event shows how dedicated the volunteers are to making this event bigger and better,” Yadon said.
Anyone who has attended or participated in the event in the past, even just once, is likely to notice the unique atmosphere that OkMOM embodies.
OkMOM will be at the Woodward County Fairgrounds & Event Center; anyone interested in volunteering or receiving treatment can find more information at www.okmom.org.