The Diamondback: A program providing free dental care to PG County residents is making a return in 2017
In 2014, the University of Maryland School of Public Health and Mission of Mercy set up dental care stations at the Xfinity Center. These stations provided free dental care to more than 1,000 people. Due to its success, the program will return in September 2017, The Diamondback reported.
The Diamondback interviewed Dr. Steven Thomas last Wednesday at the Four Cities meeting in Berwyn Heights, where city officials from College Park, Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights and New Carrollton met to discuss issues of transportation, public safety, education, sustainability, as well as new initiatives.
In the interview, Dr. Thomas mentioned that the Mission of Mercy’s program in College Park— which recruited 1,800 volunteers, 650 dentists and delivered $1.2 million in dental care—is the largest in Maryland. However, more than 1,500 people were turned away because the programs lacked the resources to serve everyone, The Diamondback reported.
College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn told The Diamondback that the Missions of Mercy program demonstrated the need of dental services for low income residents. In Greenbelt, some people cannot afford dental care because the subsidies from health care providers are not enough to cover all services, Greenbelt Mayor Emmet Jordan told The Diamondback. Jordan suggested integrating pre-screenings and sponsor vouchers to the Mission of Mercy free dental care program, The Diamondback reported. These changes will enable the program to serve more people, he said.
"There's nothing like dental pain," Dr. Thomas told The Diamondback. "There's nothing like the inability to smile."
City officials will continue the discussion in the next Four Cities meeting, which will be held in January 2017.