BY ELLA BURROWS
The 2022 Kansas Dental Association’s Kansas Mission of Mercy free dental clinic is making a stop in northwest Kansas.
For the first time since its inception in 2002, the clinic will be March 25 and 26 at the Ellis County Fairgrounds in Hays, with doors opening at 5:30 a.m. both days.
KMOM’s mission is to “provide funding and resources to improve oral health in the state of Kansas,” which it furthers through not only the clinic but also through the dispersal of more than $160,000 in grants to small-scale community organizations.
Paula Martin and her husband, Kurt Martin, DDS, have been volunteering at KMOM’s free dental clinics for nearly 10 years. They enjoy working alongside each other while giving back to the community.
At this year’s clinic, more than 60 dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants from across the state — including the Martins — will gather in Hays to provide as many patients as possible with access to dental care.
“The goal of this year’s KMOM is to serve 750 people, which will have a huge impact in the community because dental problems cause people pain and cost so much money to get fixed,” Martin said.
Because care is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, patients should be prepared to wait several hours at the fairgrounds. Martin recommends patients bring snacks and water to sustain themselves during their wait.
The services performed at the clinic are all provided free of charge to children and adults, regardless of income level, and include fillings, cleanings and extractions. Although adults might not be scheduled for care, children in need of dental services can be scheduled at https://kmomkids.as.me/schedule.php.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided to patients at the clinic via local vendors. Paula Martin said the clinic provides local businesses with opportunities while still giving back to the community of Hays and surrounding areas.
“KMOM pours back into the communities it serves, creating a win-win situation for patients and communities,” she said.
On the day patients plan to attend the clinic, they should take any and all prescription medicines as directed by their medical provider. It is recommended patients bring prescription medicines with them to the clinic to avoid missing a dose. Additionally, patients should be prepared to give providers or volunteers a list of current medicines, allergies and medical conditions in order to ensure they receive a safe, adequate form of care.
Additional information regarding the event and volunteer sign-up forms can be found at ksdentalfoundation.org or on the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation website.