More patients expected for second day of free dental clinic Sept. 24

  • The two-day event is presented by the New Mexico Dental Association.
  • The last time the clinic was held in San Juan County nearly 1,000 patients were treated.
  • Patients can receive cleanings, fillings, crowns, temporary dentures, extractions, X-rays and more at the clinic.

FARMINGTON — Business may not have been as brisk as organizers anticipated on Sept. 23 during the opening day of the New Mexico Mission of Mercy dental clinic at the McGee Park Convention Center, but that was good news for the patients who did show up to take advantage of the free services.

“It’s been going excellent,” Dr. Julius Manz, a professor at the San Juan College dental hygiene program, said of the clinic’s first several hours. “I’d like to see maybe a few more patients. But the reality is, we’re able to do more for fewer patients.”

Mike Moxie, the director of public information for the New Mexico Dental Association, which presented the clinic, echoed that assessment.

“It provides an opportunity for people here today to have a couple of extra things done,” he said. “If it was jam packed, we wouldn’t be able to do that.”

As the hour approached noon on Sept. 23, traffic through the building was steady. There was no line to get in, allowing patients to immediately begin the process of being checked in, receiving a brief dental education, being assessed for their needs, then waiting for a chair to open up so they could be treated by a volunteer dentist.

The New Mexico Mission of Mercy free dental clinic continues through Saturday, Sept. 24 at the McGee Park Convention Center.

Manz was stationed at the dental determination station, where those initial assessments of a patient’s needs were made. Manz said he has volunteered at seven of the eight Mission of Mercy clinics that have taken place across New Mexico, including the 2013 clinic in San Juan County when nearly 1,000 patients were seen over two days.

“I was fortunate enough to be the chair nine years ago. This is a lot more fun, just to do the work,” he said. “I don’t have to run the thing.”

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