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Iowa Mission of Mercy to bring free dental care to Davenport

With the Supreme Court poised to rule on the Affordable Care Act in coming days, it makes a special dental program even more timely.

The Iowa Mission of Mercy is coming to Davenport’s RiverCenter on October 5 and 6.

“It will be a full house,” said Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba.

Local dentists are joining forces with the Iowa Dental Association and Iowa Dental Foundation.

“As we see more and more folks not having access to dental insurance through their jobs, it becomes a huge problem to get folks dental care,” said Dr. Mary Mariani, a Davenport dentist and incoming president of the Iowa Dental Association.

Scenes from last year’s mission in Sioux City help to pinpoint the need. The two-day clinic served more than 1,300 patients. They came for cleanings, fillings and more elaborate care.

One patient, Matt Henderson, traveled from Davenport to Sioux City for the free services.

“I came all this way because I haven’t had dental insurance for five years,” he said. “My¬† teeth are a mess.”

Organizers are going to transform the Great Hall into a giant dental practice. There will be about 100 dental chairs available during the free October clinic. They hope to treat nearly 2,000 patients.

Participating dentists say that the timing couldn’t be better for the event. Many patients are thinking about access to health care in this economy.

“You’re able to help people without all the administrative hassles that we have to go through every day with insurance,” said Dr. Kyle Gagliardo, a Bettendorf dentist. “It’s nice to be able to sit down and use our skills to help people.”

One patient at a time, this mission will reach out to the entire community. It’s a caring community that’s ready to respond.

Genesis Health Services Foundation made a $10,000 donation to help finance the clinic.

“We do have patients who come into the emergency room probably about once a day that requires some acute dental care,” said Missy Gowey, the foundation’s executive director.

There’s also a need for dozens of volunteers to make the event a reality. Contact http://www.volunteerdavenport.com or http://www.iowamom.org to find out how to contribute.

“Dental health is part of your overall health care,” Mariani concluded. “If your mouth isn’t healthy, then the rest of you can’t be.”


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