AD Main Menu

Photos: Mission of Mercy offering $1 million worth of free dental care

People line up outside Anchorage's Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center, hoping to get into a free, first-come first-served dental clinic. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
Volunteer Stephanie Pedersen, one of over 1500 volunteers at the event, checks clients into the free clinic. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
Clients at the clinic receive free oral health education before getting cleanings, fillings or other dental work. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
The Mission of Mercy is a massive logistical challenge, which seemed to be functioning quite well on the first day of the two day event. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
Approximately 300 dentists volunteered their time at the free clinic, offering everything from cleanings to root canals. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
Approximately 300 dentists volunteered their time at the free clinic, offering everything from cleanings to root canals. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
Volunteer Sonya Senkowsky makes balloon animals for children who are getting dental work done at the clinic. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
Some clients were also able to get dentures made at the clinic. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
Sanitizers at the free clinic. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
Approximately 300 dentists volunteered their time at the free clinic, offering everything from cleanings to root canals. The Alaska Mission of Mercy is a free two-day dental clinic, and organizers expect the inaugural event to serve 2,000 individuals. Apr 11, 2014
Loren Holmes photo
Megan Edge

The sound of dental drills filled the air at the Dena'ina Center Friday, the site of a massive free dental clinic sponsored by the nonprofit organization Alaska Mission of Mercy. By 10 a.m. 700 people had walked through the Downtown Anchorage doors hoping to receive no-cost dental procedures. Roughly 500 people had already sat down to get their teeth cleaned, receive fillings, have their teeth pulled or get root canals and X-rays. Of those, three hundred people had already completed treatment.

Staffed by 1,500 volunteers, including everyone from dentists to balloon artists for children, the two-day dental clinic hopes to help 2,000 people and provide $1 million worth of dental services.

The clinic is centered on serving the uninsured, underinsured, or people who don’t have regular dentists. To pull off the event, the nonprofit raised about $280,000 in donations, including $25,000 the Alaska Dental Society used to get the fundraising started.

Anchorage Assembly member Elvi Gray-Jackson was touring the clinic Friday morning, and remarked to organizers that she was going to see if her dentist was volunteering.

"If he's not on the list, I'm going to have to find a new dentist," she said.

Alaska Mission of Mercy is planning for a similar event, about half of the size of the Anchorage event, in Fairbanks in August 2015.

Contact Megan Edge at megan(at)alaskadispatch.com