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Mission of Mercy hosts free dental clinic on June 29-30 at PPG Paints

 


Now in its second year dedicated to serving the Pittsburgh community, Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh (MOMPGH) will host a free, two-day dental clinic for adults and children Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30 at PPG Paints Arena.

Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh will bring together 1,000 dentists, clinicians, nurses and general volunteers to provide two days of dental care to underserved people living in the Pittsburgh region. Services and treatment will include dental diagnoses, minor restorative fillings, extractions and cleanings, which will be provided at no charge to adults and children age two and up.

Care will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are no income or eligibility requirements.

In 2017, more than 670 Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh volunteers served 885 patients, who together received a total of 3,500 dental procedures. The need for dental care remains significant and this year’s clinic at PPG Paints Arena will expand from 50 to 80 chairs, with 1,000 volunteers in place to assist with patients. In 2017, some individuals arrived to line up the night before the clinic opened.

“Many of those who will be served are from working families who do not have access to dental care or cannot afford dental insurance,” says Daniel Pituch, DMD, MD, one of the founders of Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh. “Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh dental clinic can be life-changing for patients, especially the homeless, the working poor, women in shelters, and children whose families do not have the means to see a dentist.”

The idea for establishing a Pittsburgh annual dental care event was born out of conversations between Dr. Pituch; Dr. Richard M. Celko, DMD, MBA, dental director, UPMC Health Plan; and Michael Zamagias, chairman and chief executive officer, TeleTracking Technologies, Inc., who together saw the need in the community to provide this service on an annual basis.

“The connection between dental health and overall health is significant,” says Dr. Pituch. “Poor dental health can tax the immune system and can lead to cardiovascular disease because of the inflammation and infections oral bacteria can cause. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight, and poor dental health causes pain, discomfort and embarrassment for the individual affected.”

Lack of dental care can also cause individuals to seek treatment in emergency rooms when their pain becomes too great. Emergency rooms are not equipped to provide traditional dental care, and patients leave with pain medication but no treatment.

The Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh event will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 29 and 30, at PPG Paints Arena. Doors open at 6 a.m., clinic service begins at 7 a.m., and care is on a first come, first served basis. The clinic concludes at 4 p.m. or when appointment capacity is reached. To learn more and to register as a volunteer, log on to http://www.mompgh.org. No registration is required for patients.

 

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