WDA Mission of Care

June 9, 2011
Care to be provided to 30 Special Olympians.

WEST ALLIS, Wisconsin--Thirty Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes will be among the some 2,000 individuals receiving approximately $1 million in free dental care June 24-25, 2011, at the Third Annual Wisconsin Dental Association and WDA Foundation Mission of Mercy near Wausau.

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Three volunteer dentists, dental hygienists and assistants have offered June 24 to treat the Special Olympians, many of whom have additional medical considerations. The athletes are ages 21 to 50 and were screened for urgent dental needs at recent Special Olympics Wisconsin competitions.

The WDA is piloting this outreach to special-needs patients at the request of America's Dentists Care Foundation. Special Olympics' Healthy Athletes program provides free health screenings and education in seven areas: vision, hearing, oral health, healthy lifestyles, general fitness, podiatry, and sports physicals to people with intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics Wisconsin provides Special Smiles oral health screenings at its events three to four times a year, but obtaining follow-up dental treatment can be difficult for the athletes.

"The WDA Mission of Mercy is proud to be part of this new cooperative effort to help get Special Olympians out of dental pain and infection," says WDA MOM state chair Dr. James Morgenroth, a general dentist in Brookfield, Wis. "We look forward to working with other states' dental leaders to help provide needed care to these special patients at MOM events nationwide."

Added Melissa Schoenbrodt, Special Olympics Wisconsin director of athlete wellness: "We are ecstatic to partner with the WDA on this new venture as our athletes' oral health is a very important part of the successes they reach on and off the playing field,"

MOM will be held at Greenheck Field House, 6400 Alderson St., Weston, Wis. (5.5 miles southeast of Wausau). Doors to this large-scale, charitable dental care event open at 6 a.m. both days. There are no appointments with care provided on a first-come, first-service basis to about 1,000 patients daily.

Children and adults who are uninsured, underinsured, or otherwise unable to visit a dental office and who do not have medically compromising conditions, such as extremely high blood pressure or severe disabilities that prohibit receiving care, are encouraged to attend.

Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No photo identification, social security number, or any other personal documentation is required.

Care being offered includes teeth cleanings, fillings, extractions, limited treatment partials, and personal oral hygiene education. More than 950 volunteers from across Wisconsin, including dentists, dental hygienists and assistants, Marquette University School of Dentistry students, and community members will be involved.

Major financial and in-kind support for the 2011 WDA Mission of Mercy is provided by Delta Dental of Wisconsin, Henry Schein Dental, Marathon County, MUSOD, Central Wisconsin Dental Society, DentaQuest, Patterson Dental, and Kwik Trip.

More than 70 organizations and individuals will make tax-deductible financial and in-kind donations helping cover $160,000 in costs for dental equipment and facility rental, supplies, pharmaceuticals, and food.

For every dollar received, WDA dentists and other MOM volunteers donate $5 to $7 in care. Approximately 3,500 people have received about $1.8 million in free care at WDA Mission of Mercy events since 2009.

"As doctors of oral health, dentists have the training and education to relieve pain and make people well — but we can't solve the state's dental crisis alone," says Morgenroth. "The WDA and its 3,000 members are committed to working with key policy leaders to make positive, viable 'Healthy Choices' that will remove barriers to dental care for all Wisconsin residents."

For more information, go to www.wda.org.

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