Thousands Expected At 8th Annual Arizona Dental Mission Of Mercy

Thousands of patients are expected to line up in Phoenix this week for millions of dollars in free dental care.

The eighth annual Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy will take place from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

“It’s the largest free dental clinic ever held in Arizona,” Kevin Conroy, executive director of the Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation, which puts on the clinic, told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “Over a two-day period, we will treat approximately 2,000 patients and deliver approximately $2 million in free dental care to those people.”

Conroy said the event is mainly for adults because children often can get dental service through other programs, but kids will be treated if they attend.

Patients should plan in advance for a long wait in line or even to camp out overnight for the first-come, first-served treatment, Conroy said. He expects people to start queuing as early as Wednesday.

“What we tell people is what you save in money you’re going to spend in time,” he said. “We’re very good about moving large amounts of people through the clinic once it’s open.”

Nearly 1,700 volunteer dentists, hygienists and others set up at 100 portable dental units inside the arena will focus primarily on treating pain and infection during the event.

“What goes with that would be cleanings and extractions and fillings,” Conroy said. “Those are our basic services.”

In some cases, patients can receive root canals, crowns or other tooth replacements, Conroy added.

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