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North Carolina MOM volunteers work around the clock

Charlotte, N.C.—The volunteer dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants at the North Carolina Dental Society’s Mission of Mercy program pulled an all-nighter Aug. 19.

IMAGE: More than 2,000 patients spent the night waiting to receive dental care.
Waiting room: More than 2,000 patients spent the night waiting to receive dental care.

With more than 2,000 patients waiting in line for hours at the Charlotte Convention Center, NCDS and volunteers began delivering care at 6 a.m. Aug. 19 and wrapped up at 6 p.m. Aug. 20, working 36 straight hours.

“We took an opportunity to work straight through just for the novelty of it,” said Dr. Bill Blaylock, director of the N.C. MOM program. “We knew the need was tremendous, but we knew also that we had enough practitioners in Mecklenburg and the surrounding counties to do that. Charlotte is probably the only place where we could do this.”

It’s another success story for an event that’s recorded more than a few. Dr. Blaylock said that more than $1 million in free dental care was provided, and that was just one Mission of Mercy event out of 12 held throughout the state each year. “We have such empathetic dental practitioners in North Carolina, and they know the tremendous access to care need that exists in all states,” said Dr. Blaylock. “This is not a health care delivery system; it’s a way for dental professionals to give back to their communities for patients in need who have nowhere else to turn.”

IMAGE: Dental lab technicians from the North Carolina Dental Laboratory Association Inc., collaborate with volunteers.
Prosthetic expertise: Dental lab technicians from the North Carolina Dental Laboratory Association Inc., collaborate with volunteers.
Volunteers from the community turn out to help, too. Dr. Blaylock calls the MOMs “community events with NCDS providing the dental care.”

North Carolina Missions of Mercy is sponsored by the North Carolina Dental Health Fund with additional support from corporate sponsors. NCDS continues to enjoy a collaboration with the North Carolina Dental Laboratory Association Inc., whose volunteers make prosthetics for MOM events.

For additional media coverage of the August MOM, visit www.ncmom-charlotte.com.