As many as 1,500 Iowans who can’t afford dental care will get the attention they need for free at a special two-day event in central Iowa, starting Friday. The Iowa Mission of Mercy is put on once a year and anyone with dental needs can line up at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Suzanne Heckenlaible, of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, says hundreds of volunteer dental professionals from all across the state are making the event possible.

Heckenlaible says, “The volunteers at the IMOM are very experienced and understand the importance of treating as many people as possible but also being respectful of people’s time and understanding that this is a long day and many people that are in line are in pain.” The event runs Friday and Saturday at the Varied Industries Building at the fairgrounds.

The clinic will open each day at 6 A.M. and it will close when it’s reached capacity for the day. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. “They have hundreds of volunteer dentists, other allied dental professionals there,” Heckenlaible says. “The University of Iowa College of Dentistry also brings its students out on Saturday.” More volunteers will be needed, to help escort patients to their assigned dentists and for services from providing food and beverages to daycare.

Folks will be able to have a host of dental issues addressed at the free event. Heckenlaible says, “The dental services that will be offered are: cleanings, extractions, fillings, a limited number of root canals and a limited number of slipper partials.” There is a strong connection between oral and overall health, she says, as untreated oral infections can lead to other serious health issues. Learn more about the event at: