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New Mexico Mission of Mercy Event to Provide Free Dental Care

dentist shaking patient's hand

Markus Dlouhy/Getty Images

AARP New Mexico needs volunteers to help with the New Mexico Mission of Mercy, a large-scale dental clinic in which dental services are provided at no cost for individuals who cannot afford dental care. The event is set for Oct. 15 and 16 at Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque.

“Sometimes in the discussion about health care people forget that oral disease can be just as debilitating as any other illness and is just as expensive to treat, especially for low income populations or people that don’t have insurance,” said Shanna Lapsley, AARP New Mexico State Associate Director for Multi-Cultural Outreach.

“The New Mexico Mission of Mercy is a unique opportunity for people to take preventative steps toward good oral health or get a problem fixed that maybe they’ve put off because they couldn’t afford to get it addressed,” Lapsley said.

Organizers are estimating that 1,500 people will take advantage of this free service over the two-day period and that’s where the volunteers come in.

“At AARP we have Create the Good®, where we encourage people to volunteer in their own communities and make the lives of others a little better,” said Beth Velasquez, AARP New Mexico Communications Director. “The Mission of Mercy is an excellent opportunity to do just that.”

“We’re seeking volunteers that can help direct people, assist with filling out forms and other general tasks that will keep the operation moving along. It doesn’t matter if you have just a couple of hours to give or want to spend the entire day working at the clinic, we’d appreciate whatever help people are willing to give,” Velasquez said.

Patients will be treated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each patient will undergo an oral cancer screening and a dental evaluation. As dentists and dental hygienists become available, patients will be guided to areas of the dental clinic where they will undergo dental treatments such as cleanings, fillings, root canals, extractions, and preparation of partial dentures and prefabricated crowns.

Participants will also be given information on how to properly care for teeth and be asked to complete an exit interview on their experience. Bilingual volunteers will also be available to assist non-English speaking patients.

Check back at the AARP New Mexico site closer to the event for more information on each day’s specific times and other details.

To volunteer for the event call the New Mexico State Office at 1-866-389-5636.

Find more information on Create the Good.

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