One of the least densely populated states in the country, New Mexico is a land of diverse people and needs.
The Land of Enchantment has the second-highest percentage of people living in poverty, and last year was one of three states that saw a spike in both the number and percentage of people living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At 47 percent, the state also has the highest percentage of Hispanic residents.
Dentists throughout the state are committed to improving the oral health of New Mexicans.
More than 150 dentists provided free care to about 1,000 people in need during the state’s fourth Mission of Mercy, which was held Oct. 24-25 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, just outside Albuquerque.
Missions of Mercy are one- and two-day events at which dentists from across the state converge to treat underserved people. At many events, people camp outside convention centers, schools and temporary dental field hospitals to secure a spot for treatment.
During this year’s two-day event, dentists provided free dental care that otherwise would have cost patients more than $1.3 million, including cleanings, fillings, crowns, temporary and permanent partials and dentures, and root canals.
At the previous three New Mexico Mission of Mercy events, volunteer dentists provided free care valued at more than $2.8. The first event was held in Albuquerque in 2010, the second in Las Cruces in 2012 and the third in Farmington in 2013.