Dr. Gardner alongside his daughter, Ava, spent the weekend volunteering at Wise MOM – a 2 ½ day dental clinic conducted each year in July to provide free dental services including cleanings, fillings, oral surgery, x-rays and dentures. This year was Ava’s first experience at the Wise MOM event. Dr. Gardner has been serving at the clinic for over 10 years and was excited to bring Ava with him so she could see first hand what the Missions of Mercy does and how there is a dental need locally just as there is globally.
The MOM pilot project was held in Wise County in 2000. Since that time, 19,060 Southwest Virginia area patients have received free dental care valued at $ 15.3 million. There is a profound need for access to affordable dental services in Southwest Virginia. To address the overwhelming need for access to free oral health care, Dr. Terry Dickinson, executive director of the Virginia Dental Association, created the Mission of Mercy (MOM) program to provide high-quality dental care for underserved Virginians. The MOM program operates mobile clinics in strategic locations across the state, providing preventive, restorative, and surgical dental treatments to more than 4,000 low-income individuals each year. Wise MOM is made possible by partnerships with the Virginia Dental Association, VCU School of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene, The Health Wagon, Remote Area Medical, Virginia Healthcare Foundation and a host of other sponsors.