UNC School of Dentistry faculty members and students recently participated in a free adult dental clinic where more than 900 patients received treatment.
The North Carolina Dental Society sponsored the Oct. 23-24 event, which was held in Kill Devil Hills, at the Youth Center and Family Recreation Park located at 602 S. Mustian St.
Called North Carolina Missions of Mercy (NCMOM), the clinic was staffed by North Carolina Dental Society volunteer dentists and additional volunteers from the local community and other parts of the state, as well as Virginia. As a part of this effort, UNC dental faculty members provided treatment and supervised an estimated 65 student volunteers representing dentistry and the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program.
Patrick Galloway, a third-year dental student who helped organize the student volunteer effort, said in a letter of thanks to all UNC dental faculty and student volunteers that all who gave their time “truly changed the lives of hundreds of underserved North Carolinians through the field of dentistry.”
“All in all everyone should be proud because you give us faith in humanity and the true meaning of dentistry and health care, which is to serve people other than ourselves,” he said.
Dean John N. Williams thanked Galloway and faculty, dental resident and student volunteers who “worked hard and did a whole lot of good for the folks in eastern North Carolina this past weekend. It was a real delight for me to see our future colleagues in action and know the state will be will served in the years ahead because of the committed dental students of today.”
Dr. Billy Williams, a School of Dentistry alumnus and practicing dentist who volunteered at NCMOM, said that seeing the student effort “makes alumni like me so proud to be associated with UNC. I have been involved with many talented people over the years, but what I saw this weekend may have topped the list as far as effort and compassion.”
Vice Dean Ken May, who also volunteered at the clinic, had earlier said that the NCMOM experience provides School of Dentistry students and faculty an opportunity to experience firsthand some of the unmet dental needs in North Carolina. “More importantly, by participating in the provision of dental care to these citizens, our students and faculty are helping meet some of this unmet need.”
During the two-day free clinic, patients received examinations, X-rays, cleanings, restorations and extractions at no cost. Oral health education also was offered. Patients were treated on a first-come-first-served basis, with patient registration beginning at 6 a.m. both days.
The October NCMOM event was co-sponsored by Dare County, the Dare County Health Department and Healthy Carolinians of the Outer Banks.