Editorial

Dental event

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

If you have dental insurance, you probably don't think much of your regular cleanings and checkups. However, good dental health is important to your teeth and your overall health.

Sadly, there are many people who don't have dental insurance and lack adequate care. For these individuals, not receiving preventive care can lead to bigger problems.

In an effort to help those in need, a charity dental clinic called Missouri Mission of Mercy will be held later this week.

Referred to by organizers as MOMOM, the clinic is sponsored by the Missouri Dental Association and the Missouri Dental Association Foundation.

A story in Monday's Southeast Missourian noted that more than 100 dentists and 1,000 volunteers will be at the Show Me Center to help with the event, only the second to be held in Missouri. The first clinic was held in 2011 at Springfield. According to organizers, about 1,846 people were treated over two days -- some camping out the day before.

Dr. Janet Ruopp, a Cape Girardeau dentist, told the Southeast Missourian they expect to help about 2,000 people at the clinic. Services provided include extractions, cleaning and fillings. The clinic will provide care from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Show Me Center.

We know there are people who only receive health care through emergency rooms -- an expensive delivery of care. But according to representatives from the Missouri Dental Association, there are people who come to emergency rooms because of pain related to their teeth. This only addresses pain and does little to address long-term problems. This is one reason we're especially thankful that the charity clinic will be in Cape Girardeau -- if only for two days.

Thanks to all those who helped bring this event to Cape Girardeau. A word of thanks to all the volunteer dental professionals and lay persons.

If you have not signed up to volunteer, you may still do so by going the Show Me Center on Friday or Saturday. Paul Roberts, advocacy and outreach director with the Missouri Dental Association, said volunteers registration will be held at 4:30 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday at the north entrance to the Show Me Center. Those who can't come at that time are welcome to come later.

We expect this event will help many in Southeast Missouri and the surrounding states, people who are in desperate need of dental care. If you're available to volunteer, your assistance is welcome.

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