Frequently Asked Questions

• Q. What is a "Mission of Mercy"(or MOM)?
It is a gathering of volunteer dental professionals who along with a volunteer staff of several hundred hold free, two day dental clinics at locations around the country.

• Q. When did MOM begin?
In July 2000, the Virginia Dental Health Foundation launched the Mission of Mercy (MOM) Project. The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry in conjunction with the Virginia Dental Association and the Virginia Health Care Foundation formed a partnership to provide dental care for the uninsured and underserved populations of Virginia. Since then thousands of patients in a growing number of states have been served. Virginia and Texas run multiple events each year.

Cumberland was the site for the first Maryland MOM, October 29-30, 2010. University of Maryland Dental School partnered with the Maryland State Dental Association (MSDA) to begin supporting statewide Mission of Mercy events at the second MOM project also held in Cumberland, October 2011. To learn more about other MD MOM events, go to: http://www.msda.com/mission-of-mercy.html.

• Q. What is a MOM event like?
Every event takes on its own personality, however there are some common traits:

  • over 100 volunteer dental professionals
  • several hundred lay-volunteers
  • lines of patients forming in the middle of the night
  • all services provided on a first come first serve basis
  • doors open at 5:00 AM and close normally a few hours later as the facility fills up with patients

• Q. What is a Mini-MOM event like?
Main differences for a mini-mom are less clinical chairs, by appointment only, and fewer volunteers. Services may also be limited more than a regular MOM.

• Q. What is the cost?
There is no cost to the patient, no insurance form, nothing. It is free.

• Q. Who pays for everything?
The dental organizations of the state where the event is held raise private donations to cover all the costs. Donations may come in the form of funds; supplies; donated meals and/or snacks; tables and chairs; badges, forms; and a variety of other support items. If you'd like to donate, see our Donations page.

• Q. What services are provided?
This may vary slightly but cleanings, fillings, extractions, some oral surgery, root canals (at some locations), denture repair, oral hygiene education. At the Western MD MOMs, we have been fortunate enough to offer root canals, flippers, and denture repairs at past events.

• Q. Who is eligible to be treated?
Anyone 18 years of age or older. No restrictions, unless the patient can't be treated because of a medical reason.

• Q. What if the patient needs pain medication or antibiotics?
There is always a pharmacy at the event to dispense free pain medications and antibiotics as prescribed by the treating dentist.

• Q. What if a patient needs additional treatment?
To assure that patients have follow-up access, arrangements are made with local dentists to care for those individuals, if necessary. Follow-up information is provided at the event during patient check-out.

• Q. Do the dentists (and assistants) get paid?
No. This is a 100% volunteer operation.