Miles of Smiles


Dental Clinic Serves Nearly 1,000
By Lauren Brown | Photo by John T. Consoli

A root canal or multiple cavity fillings don’t sound like something to smile about. But 900 people were thrilled to receive free emergency dental care at UMD’s Xfinity Center on Sept. 8 and 10 through the Mid-Maryland Mission of Mercy and Health Equity Festival, organized by the School of Public Health’s Center for Health Equity in partnership with Catholic Charities of Washington and the Maryland State Dental Association and Foundation.

Patients with the most serious problems were the focus of the 950 dental professionals and other volunteers, who provided an estimated $1.5 million in services, along with free health screenings, haircuts and help navigating insurance options.

Researchers also signed up patients for a text message-based study to connect them with ongoing health resources and to provide information for policymakers on increasing access to care—so that events like this might no longer be necessary.

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