The Iowa Mission of Mercy free (IMOM) dental clinic is returning after being canceled by the pandemic in 2020.

The executive director of the Iowa Dental Foundation, Laurie Traetow says they will use a different format this year.
“We just made the decision to transition to what we are calling IMOM local clinics. So rather than doing a large-scale two-day free dental clinic — we are asking our dentists to open their doors to a free day of dental care,” Traetow says.

They are also changing the way you get into a clinic. She says the past large-scale clinics would be first come, first served when the doors opened, but now they are asking people to make an appointment. “One, to make sure that they can get in, and to try to avoid that sort of mass gathering.”

Traetow says they need to keep the COVID safety protocols in place to protect dentists and patients. You can go to the IMOM website to make an appointment. She says there is a list there by date and location and you can find them at the website.

Traetow says the dentists and support crews will miss getting together for the one big clinic — but she says they hope it will only be a one-year change. “Our plan is to return to a full-scale free dental clinic in 2022. But, we certainly recognized that just because the pandemic has changed many things, it doesn’t mean that some of that need for dental care goes away for those patients in need,” Traetow says.

The dental offices will provide a variety of services from cleanings, x-rays, fillings, and in some cases more extensive dental care, depending on each patient’s primary needs and the dentist’s judgment. The IMOM clinics began in 2008 and have served more than 15,000 patients with donated dental care totaling more than 10 million dollars.