IF YOU GO

What: New Mexico Mission of Mercy for San Juan County


When: Starting at 5 a.m. Sept. 13 and 14. People can line up outside the doors beginning at 4 p.m. Sept. 12


Where: McGee Park, 41 Road 5568, Farmington


Cost: Free


More info: Go to www.nmdentalfoundation.org, or call 888-723-8820.

FARMINGTON — San Juan County's Mission of Mercy opens its dental clinic at McGee Park later this week, and organizers are hoping to get the word out to potential patients.

The free dental clinic is Sept. 13 and 14. During that time, more than a hundred dental professionals, including hygienists, oral surgeons and dentists, will provide no-cost dental and oral care.

"There is nothing people need to bring, and there are no requirements for them to receive care," said retired oral surgeon John McNeill, who co-chairs the event. "People will be served on a first-come, first-served basis."

Patients will be asked to fill out a short health history, provide a list of medications they are taking and disclose any health issues. Individuals taking a blood thinner should consult a medical doctor before coming to the clinic, McNeill said.

After filling out the health form, patients will go through a screening to ensure they don't have a medical condition preventing them from getting treated. If they need medication before being treated, they will receive the prescription and medicine on-site.

Patients will then be directed to a dental exam area to meet one-on-one with a dental professional who will determine their needs. If necessary, X-rays will be taken before the patient goes to a specialized treatment area.

"We will be focusing on pain and infection, but if someone just needs a cleaning, there's an entire periodontal section just for cleaning and gum care," McNeill said.

Professionals will be available to complete a wide variety of treatments, including tooth extractions, fillings and root canals. They can also provide limited tooth replacements and partial dentures. There will also be a pediatric dentistry area specifically for treating children.

Dental implants and full dentures will not be provided.

After receiving care, the patient will be asked to fill out a short treatment card that will later be entered into a database.

Paula Graham and Mary Keller, with the PEO sorority, prepare volunteer registration packets on Thursday for the Mission of Mercy dental clinic. The clinic
Paula Graham and Mary Keller, with the PEO sorority, prepare volunteer registration packets on Thursday for the Mission of Mercy dental clinic. The clinic will provide free dental care on Sept. 13 and 14. (Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times)

McNeill said people can begin lining up outside the clinic at 4 p.m. Sept. 12, the day before the clinic opens. The clinic will open at 5 a.m. Sept. 13.

Those who decide to line up early should plan on bringing their own food, chairs and sunscreen, McNeill said. There will be ample parking at McGee Park, and people are asked not to park in SunRay Park & Casino's parking lot.

While the online sign-up procedure to volunteer for the event has closed, McNeill said those wishing to help with the two-day event can show up, and they will be assigned a duty.

Right now, the priority for Mission of Mercy organizers is encouraging those in need to take advantage of the free services.

"Patients who have come to past Mission of Mercy clinics have expressed what a difference getting treatment has made in their lives. They're more confident doing things like going to job interviews because their teeth look better, and they've just been so grateful," McNeill said. "We're very excited to help as many people as possible."

Leigh Black Irvin covers health for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4610 and lirvin@daily-times.com Follow her @irvindailytimes on Twitter.