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Dentistry students help provide $1 million in services to those in need at Mission of Mercy event

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Photo via Wisconsin Dental Association.

At the Wisconsin Dental Association Mission of Mercy event at the Wisconsin State Fair Park June 22-23, 233 Marquette dental students worked with individuals from the WDA to provide services valued at $1 million to those in need in the Milwaukee area.

This year, the event, which is sponsored by the Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation, reached capacity at 2,000 patients.

According to the WDA Mission of Mercy website, 8,332 dental procedures were provided to patients at this year’s event. X-rays, fillings, cleanings, and part and full dentures were just some of the services provided.

Dr. Conrad Nenn, director of clinical services at the dental school, said that while the event does not fix the lack of dental care for some individuals in Wisconsin, it does provide a “Band-Aid” for the problem.  

“The WDA Foundation along with the Marquette University School of Dentistry realized this would be a way to provide some basic dental care to a population not having access to regular dental (care) for whatever reasons,” Nenn said.

This year marked the ninth Mission of Mercy event in Wisconsin. Marquette students have been volunteering with the event since it first started, according to Nenn. He added that Marquette students are the largest group of student volunteers at the Mission of Mercy events.

Dr. Monica Hebl, the local chair for the Mission of Mercy event, called this year’s event a “phenomenal outreach effort.”

Hebl said she appreciates that through this event, Marquette dental students can be exposed to things they would not normally see, and added that the event as an important way for to network.

“You’re kind of in a bubble when you’re in school. It’s a great way for (students) to network with dentists all around the state,” Hebl said.

She said she also sees it as an important way to live out Marquette’s mission of service.

“Marquette’s whole mission is service. Whenever you do service, you always get something back that’s greater than what’s given,” Hebl said.

Nenn said he also sees service as integral part of dentistry.

“Marquette University School of Dentistry, under the direction of our dean Dr. William Lobb, has made a conscious decision to develop an attitude of community service in our graduates.  This falls in line with one of Marquette University’s mission area of ‘service,’” Nenn said.

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