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Bringing smiles

Local dentists and dental assistants extend healing hands at Iowa Mission of Mercy event

-Submitted photo
Dr. Mike Moffitt, of Eagle Grove, left, and Dr. Barry Svec, of Des Moines,, second from right, pose for a quick photo with two other volunteers from the Cedar Rapids area.

Five area dentists and some of their assistants recently volunteered their services to provide free care at an event in Waterloo.

The dentists were Mike Moffit, of Eagle Grove; Jordan Moffitt and Lex Cashmore, who practice in Eagle Grove and Manson; John Clay, of Fort Dodge; and Bob Ronconi, of Fort Dodge.

The Iowa Mission of Mercy, or IMOM, is a charitable initiative organized by the Iowa Dental Association (IDA). Its primary goal is to provide free dental care to underserved and uninsured individuals in the state.

According to Dr. Mike Moffitt, Iowa is one of 32 states that hosts a Mission of Mercy.

IMOM events typically feature a collaborative effort involving dental professionals, volunteers, and sponsors. This year’s event was the 14th IMOM, and it was held in Waterloo. Since it started, IMOM has provided more than $18 million in free dental care to Iowans.

-Submitted photo
Dr. Jordan Moffitt oversees two volunteer dental assistants as they help in the prosthetics area. His daughter, Clara Moffitt, right, helped out as well.

This year approximately $955,000 worth of services were donated in the two days it was held. There were 1,081 patients who received care, and 5,921 procedures completed.

More than 22 percent of the patients seen said that they hadn’t been to a dentist in more than five years.

Dental professionals from across the region gathered to offer essential dental services to those who might not otherwise have access to such care due to financial constraints or other barriers. The services provided included cleanings, fillings, extractions, and various basic dental procedures, all at no cost to the patients.

Roughly 1,000 volunteers were present, including state Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge. Volunteers included dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, translators, equipment specialists (to keep the dental equipment operational), computer technicians, and hundreds of lay people.

“Participating in IMOM is about giving back to our community and helping those in need,” said Dr. Jordan Moffitt. “We understand the challenges that many individuals face in accessing dental care, and that’s why events like IMOM are so special.”

-Submitted photo
Dr. Jordan Moffitt speaks with state Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, a registered nurse, who also volunteered at IMOM.

Cashmore added, “It’s incredible to see the community coming together to make a difference. We had patients of all ages who needed our help, and it was a privilege to provide them with the care they deserve.”

Doctors Jordan Moffitt, Mike Moffitt, and Cashmore, along with their dental assistants, Mariela Baez, Jessi Miller, Josselin Guendulay, and Clara Moffitt, played a role in ensuring the smooth operation of the event.

IMOM is held annually, and the aim is to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and the challenges faced by underserved populations in accessing dental

services. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis during these events, and the services are provided free of charge.

In summary, the recent IMOM event in Waterloo was a great example of the impact that can be made when local professionals donate their skills, resources, and compassion.

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