On May 18 and 19, Santander Arena will turn into the largest free dental clinic Reading has ever seen. Each year, one city in Pennsylvania is chosen to host a MOM-n-PA, in which free dental treatment is provided on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals who are without the means to afford dental care. Reading was fortunate to be chosen for 2018.
On those two days, local dentists, alongside dentists, hygienists and dental assistants from all over the state, will be in Reading to offer their services free of charge. In all, we expect over 150 dentists to be providing treatments that include extractions, fillings, denture repairs, root canals and cleanings. Children, adults and senior citizens are welcome.
The MOM-n-PA project is a nonprofit run by a committee of dentists from throughout the state. After Reading was chosen as this year’s location, Dr. Brian Schwab and I were asked to be the local co-chairs. In addition to helping organize the event, I have closed my office for those days to be at the arena to provide dental care and have encouraged my staff to do the same.
To date in the previous five missions, MOM-n-PA has completed 18,291 dental procedures on 5,572 patients, a value of $2,730,804. We are expecting to treat over 2,000 patients during the Reading event, providing almost a million dollars’ worth of care. At past events, the line of patients began forming in the middle of the night and by morning wrapped around the block.
When I was growing up, my parents were not wealthy, but they understood the value of good dental health. MOM-n-PA is an effort toward providing at least some dental treatment to individuals who, for any reason, cannot afford dental care. The hope is after being treated, many of the patients will follow up with a dentist for at least basic dental treatment.
The Berks County Community Foundation has been very helpful in working with local agencies to both get the word out to the needy population and in gathering donations to cover the cost of the facility and supplies. Although the dentists, hygienists and dental assistants are offering their services free, there are costs to rent the arena and for the dental supplies that are necessary to provide the services. Berks is fortunate that many businesses have provided both funds and products to make this event possible.