The Edmond Sun

Oklahoma State House

February 7, 2014

Happy smiles: OkMOM providing area residents free dental care at Expo Center again today

ENID, Okla. — Enid resident Graciela Alatorre waited all day Friday for a simple dental treatment.

She stood in line with about 1,000 others who, for whatever reasons, couldn’t afford a visit to their dentist. Since 8:30 a.m. she waited, but Alatorre had no worries.

“For me? No. I’m free,” she said. “For me it’s perfect.”

Eight hours after arriving at Chisholm Trail Expo Center, a volunteer dentist extracted a tooth that was bothering her. Volunteer hygienists gave her a thorough cleaning. Alatorre finally found herself with a cheek full of gauze and a happy smile.

“I’m happy that I got free care. It’s been a really good experience,” she said with help from a volunteer translator.

Friday was the first of two days Oklahoma Mission of Mercy was in Enid. The event wraps up later today. There is no eligibility requirement, and patients aren’t asked any financial questions, but the donations of time and equipment are meant to help those who cannot afford treatment.

Dr. Todd Bridges, of Lawton, who spent Friday creating dental appliances like dentures, said OkMOM has donated more than $4 million of dentistry to about 7,500 patients in its first four years. He stressed this kind of work is not unusual for his profession.

“The folks that you see here are doing charitable dentistry in their offices every day of the week. This is just on a bigger scale to where we can affect the Enid community,” he said. “It’s something that we’re born with, an innate thing with dentists, to give back to their community.”

This is the fifth year for OkMOM. The organization previously held annual events in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, McAlester and Lawton.

“It’s an amazing event to bring it to the northwest corner of the state,” he said.

Gloria Bega, of Enid, also left the Expo Center after an extraction and cleaning. The event is important for her, she said, “because all of my teeth need to be good.”

“The people are very nice. They give a lot of attention. I’m very, very happy coming here today,” she said.

And to the 2,000 or so dental professionals and volunteers, “I say, God bless everybody.”

A volunteer who made the trip from Muskogee, Dannetta Tate, has spent five years with OkMOM. As health coordinator for a tribal Head Start program, she understands the value of making sure people get proper dental treatment.

Oftentimes, after arriving in terrible pain and leaving with a better smile, patients at OkMOM events will profusely give their thanks.

“’No, you being here is awesome,’” she’ll reply. “’You’re getting services that you couldn’t afford to get, and you’ll come out of here 100 percent healthy, mouth-wise.’ When you’re in pain, you just don’t want to be bothered.”

Along with removing bad teeth, OkMOM also provides more in-depth treatment like root canals and fillings.

Tate shied away from accepting her volunteerism as a badge of honor.

“I like doing this. I like making sure the people here in our state are taken care of,” she said. “I guess it is one, but I’m just serving the public.”

OkMOM allowed patients to stay in the Expo Center overnight so they could wait in line for more treatment today. Preparations began at 5 a.m., and dentists expect to see another 1,000 people before the end of the day.

The event is presented by Oklahoma Dental Association, Oklahoma Dental Foundation and Oklahoma Delta Dental Oral Health Foundation, and is endorsed by Oklahoma State Department of Health. For information or to volunteer, go to www.okmom.org or call (800) 876-8890.

1
Text Only
Oklahoma State House
  • GooGooDolls.jpg Coming in August: The Goo Goo Dolls

    Enid Event Center books yet another big-name music attraction.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • History_Tour_5_BH.jpg History tours begin May 17

    Downtown Enid will be the scene of Chisholm Trail Coalition Walking Tours

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candidate filing period ends

    From the U.S. Congress to the Oklahoma House, several incumbents are hoping to hold onto their jobs in the 2014 elections.

    April 15, 2014

  • Wheel Chair UCO community develops $200 wheelchair prototype

    Last month, the Congressional Research Service reported that a total of 1,558 soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq endured major limb amputations due to battlefield injuries. They include the loss of one or more limbs, the loss of one or more partial limbs or the loss of one or more full or partial hand or foot.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-9 Disc Golf-signing.jpg Pros give local disc golfer a special birthday

    Chances are local member of the Chickasha Disc Golf Club Emily Beach will long remember her 15th birthday.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Hargrave built legacy

    Former Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Rudolph Hargrave died Tuesday in Ada. He was 89.
    A graveside service is set for 2 p.m. Friday at Oakwood Cemetery in Wewoka, with the Rev. Susan Rice presiding, according to Stout-Phillips Funeral Home in Wewoka.

    April 2, 2014

  • Speedy Dog reunited with family after missing 2 years

    “Speedy” the Chihuahua was reunited with his family after a 26-month stint around the metro area. His owners, Lori and Don Whitton, said if he had not been micro chipped, he would not be home right now. The Whittons urge pet owners get ...

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pianist to perform with Enid Symphony April 5-6

    March 29, 2014

  • 6049_1_0028.jpg Wind $$$: More than $1 billion from industry

    The study found the state’s 26 operational wind farms added more than 1,600 full-time jobs to Oklahoma’s economy. They pay more than $22 million per year in royalties to landowners.

    March 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Authorities searching for Ada man

    Authorities from several agencies continue to search for a 38-year-old Ada man missing since March 10.
    “The Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Office, Ada Police Department, along with assistance from the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department are currently attempting to determine the location of missing person, Charles Dewayne Manuel,” Sheriff John Christian said Wednesday. “Manuel left his grandparent’s home in Ada on March 10 and the family had no contact with him since that time. Manuel was officially reported missing on March 17.”

    March 26, 2014