A program which brings free dental care to thousands of Florida residents will continue with Governor Ron DeSantis‘ signing of the FY 2021-22 budget.
The state budget includes $225,000 for the Florida Dental Association (FDA) Foundation’s 2022 Florida Mission of Mercy, a two-day, large-scale, professional dental clinic that provides care to patients at no cost, with the goal of serving underinsured and underserved Floridians who would otherwise go without care. The 2022 event will be held March 11-12, 2022 in Tallahassee at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. This year’s event is in Jacksonville on July 30 – 31.
Each year thousands of people in need of dental care travel, sometimes for hours, to the venue and then wait in line even longer to participate in the free event. Since 2014, Florida Mission of Mercy events held in Tampa, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Fort Myers, and Orlando have provided nearly 10,000 patients with donated dental care valued at more than $9.4 million.
Each patient at the FDA Foundation’s Florida Mission of Mercy events receives oral health education and prevention services, including a panoramic X-ray, nutritional counseling for dental disease, and a comprehensive oral exam. They also receive a recommended treatment plan and additional services based on their needs, such as cleanings, fillings, root canals, tooth extractions and even dentures and partials/bridges. All at no cost to the patient.
“All Floridians should have the opportunity to have good oral health,” said Dr. Andrew Brown, president of the FDA. “We appreciate Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature’s recognition of the importance of investing in oral health as it is a critical component of overall health.”
“The Florida Dental Association thanks Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for including funding for the Florida Mission of Mercy in this year’s budget,” said Brown. “This will have a tremendous impact in providing critical treatment and services to patients in need of dental care who might otherwise seek temporary care at hospital emergency departments.”