Arizona dentists are delivering free dental work to thousands of patients.   The Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation is hosting its 3rd annual Dental Mission of Mercy event at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds this weekend.  Hundreds of dental professionals have banded

 together to volunteer their services to provide free dental work to those who have no dental benefits.  Executive Director Kevin Conroy says hundreds of people started lining up at the State Fairgrounds Wednesday and camped out overnight for their services.  Clinic doors will remain open until 6 p.m. Saturday.  Wait times are up to four to five hours long.   Conroy says dentists are doing cleanings, fillings, root canals and an occasional crown.  Next year, they hope to offer denture options.

The clinic is also raising awareness about the increasing difficulties that low-income adults and children face in accessing necessary dental care.  Arizona discontinued adult dental AHCCCS benefits in 2010 during the budget cuts of the great recession.  The demand for care during this event proves how much the most vulnerable members of our community need this program to be restored.

A recent survey found that 21 percent of Arizona adults and 31 percent of all Arizona children have never had a dental check-up.

Kris Dugan