Free Dental Clinic at UConn Serves Over 1,000 Smiles

James Eaton

In excess of 1,000 people received totally free dental treatment this weekend at the UConn Faculty of Dental Medication in the course of the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach’s 15th Connecticut Mission of Mercy Free of charge Dental Clinic (CT Mother).



One particular hundred and sixty UConn College of Dental Drugs college students, college, personnel, and citizens and 30 School of Medicine City Assistance Track learners had been section of a team of around 800 volunteers who helped set-up, aid, and administer absolutely free care above the weekend. A lot of UConn School of Dental Medicine alumni were being also portion of the major two-working day public provider event.

This was the very first calendar year that the UConn School of Dental Drugs hosted the clinic in its 15-yr heritage.

A Shared Dedication to Treatment

In his remarks all through the clinic’s opening ceremony on Saturday morning, Dr. Steven Lepowsky, dean of the School of Dental Medicine, claimed the reaction was “an rapid resounding yes” immediately after the Connecticut Basis for Dental Outreach approached UConn above a 12 months ago asking to host the 2022 CT Mom clinic.

Dr. Steven Lepowsky, Dean of the UConn Faculty of Dental Drugs, speaks at the 2022 Connecticut Mission of Mercy Free of charge Dental Clinic ceremonial ribbon reducing together with the clinic’s founder and chairman Dr. Robert Schreibman and UConn Health’s Main Administrative Officer Janel Simpson. (Tina Encarnacion image)

“We are extremely delighted to be able to partner with the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach and provide as the host internet site for this year’s totally free dental clinic,” Lepowsky claimed. “We have experienced a extended history supporting CT Mom as our college, learners, people, and employees have been volunteering with the firm because its inception. Hosting CT Mom at our Dental Care Middle signifies an enjoyable new chapter in this partnership.”

Dr. Robert Schreibman, the Chairman and Founder of the CT Mother Foundation agreed, indicating “we are extremely satisfied to have this chance supplied to us by the UConn University of Dental Medicine to exercise right here and acquire treatment of the essential needs of the dental sufferers in this article right now.”

“We’ve found countless numbers of patients and have performed tens of millions of dollars’ value of care,” Schreibman observed of the clinic’s 15-year keep track of history.

CT Mom supplies free dental companies for underserved and uninsured individuals who are not able to afford the charge of care. The two-day clinic is 1st-occur, very first-served and gives a total array of dental services like tests, x-rays, cleanings, extractions, root canals, and far more. The College of Dental Medicine’s Dental Treatment Middle clinics furnished 169 dental stations.

The clinic hit its capability at 2:30 pm on Sunday afternoon.

Patients line up to obtain care at the 2022 Connecticut Mission of Mercy Absolutely free Dental Clinic at the UConn Faculty of Dental Drugs. (Tina Encarnacion image)

“Providing critically vital dental care to the citizens of the state of Connecticut is at the main of our school’s mission and eyesight and is a motivation that’s shared by the Connecticut Foundation for Dental Outreach,” Lepowsky reported. “Good oral well being is the vital to excellent all round health, and we are all in this article to support boost the health and perfectly-being of individuals and communities in need.”

Janel Simpson, Chief Administrative Officer at UConn Wellbeing, was instrumental in organizing the function on behalf of UConn Well being. “Public support is the foundational mission of UConn Overall health and our dental and healthcare schools,” Simpson claimed. “Events like this is what UConn really embodies.”

“Thank you to every solitary person included in scheduling this heartwarming local community support event, it genuinely normally takes a village!”

Volunteers Make it All Attainable

Every single yr, volunteers from all more than the condition and area arrived jointly to help make the absolutely free dental clinic feasible. This 12 months was no different. From UConn college students, citizens, school, and personnel to dentists in personal practice to volunteers from the Connecticut Countrywide Guard and AmeriCorps—the absolutely free clinic was teeming with persons committed to serving the community and building smiles brighter.

For the dentists, the Dental Care Middle at UConn Health—a not too long ago renovated, condition of the art facility in the heart of central Connecticut, was an perfect location to administer treatment.

Patients obtain treatment at the 2022 Connecticut Mission of Mercy Free of charge Dental Clinic at the UConn School of Dental Medication. (Tina Encarnacion photograph)

Dr. Gary Toubman of Newington, Connecticut said the people were being likely to get an fantastic care encounter in UConn’s dental chairs.

“They are heading to experience like they are in a personal apply setting—which is really humanizing,” Toubman said. “The medical professionals do a fantastic task dealing with them as if they are their personal individuals.”

Dr. Elyse Sudhoff of Glastonbury famous the convenience of the clinic’s area. “Accessibility is a nice point this 12 months,” Sudhoff mentioned. The area is effortless for individuals to get to. It will make a major variance in conditions of turnout.”

In prior decades, CT Mother has taken put across the point out, together with New Haven, Danbury, Waterbury, Bridgeport, Middletown, and Tolland.

UConn School of Dental Medication student volunteers (from remaining to proper), Ashley Brandon, Carlos Cardenas Peralta, and Jerry Gargano help formally open the clinics through the ribbon reducing ceremony. (Tina Encarnacion photograph)

Carlos Cardenas Peralta, a fourth-calendar year dental student at UConn, used the weekend volunteering with oral surgical procedures although also escorting patients who speak Portuguese and Spanish. In accordance to Peralta, CT Mother is an amazingly precious provider opportunity for learners.

This is Carlos’ fourth time volunteering with CT Mother.

“It’s certainly satisfying and presents me a reminder of why I’m doing dentistry,” Peralta mentioned. “I want to support the local community, especially all those who simply cannot go by private dentists due to the fact revenue is a barrier.”

Dr. Sarita Arteaga, affiliate dean for pupils at the UConn School of Dental Medicine, was thrilled with this year’s “tremendous” volunteer turnout.

“After a few years’ hiatus, we have been blessed to present treatment to patients needing dental treatment they could not manage,” Arteaga mentioned.

A Serious Assistance to the Local community

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the full CT Mom clinic was put on maintain for several years. The past complete clinic, which took position in 2019, served above 600 sufferers, which includes 57 veterans.

Jack, a Vietnam veteran from Torrington, is one particular of the veterans who has been to numerous CT Mom dental clinics. This 12 months, through Veterans’ Working day weekend, Jack traveled to the clinic to get some filings taken treatment of.

“It’s a actual assistance to the neighborhood,” Jack reported.

The clinic is a convenient possibility for many sufferers to catch up on extensive overdue care—ensuring that their oral health does not fall as a result of the cracks.

Individuals left the 2022 Connecticut Mission of Mercy Cost-free Dental Clinic with big smiles. (Tina Encarnacion photograph)

Michelle from Farmington came to a clinic with a friend to address dental troubles that have been put on the back burner. Michelle essential a filling fastened, though her mate needed an extraction. Content with both of those the velocity and high quality of her care, Michelle reported the procedure was “quick and easy—took only about 10 minutes.”

A affected person from Plainville showed up to UConn Wellness at 2 AM on Saturday morning anticipating very long lines based mostly on her preceding encounters with CT Mom clinics. For the patient—who necessary numerous processes above the two times, such as an extraction, cleansing, x-ray, and filling—the ease and high quality treatment at no cost is really worth it.

“You have to be an early chook from time to time for matters you want,” the affected individual claimed. “This clinic is hassle-free for me, and I come to feel you get excellent treatment coming listed here. The volunteers here get you better care than your very own personal dentist. You get quite great care at this celebration.”

The affected individual was 1 of the virtually 250 clients in line ahead of the clinic opened at 8 AM on Saturday morning.

Elvis from Waterbury, came to the clinic in have to have of partial dentures. Elvis lined up with his spouse at 7 AM hoping to secure a location. Just after a volunteer dentist seemed in his mouth all through the original screening, Elvis learned that he also necessary a filling to help his tooth properly help the dentures.

“He acquired that the filling was a priority,” Elvis’ wife reported, “so now he’s also heading to get a filling!”


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