12th Mission of Mercy Trip—July 22-24, 2016
Dr. Morabito Helps Make Smiles of a Lifetime
Falls Church dentist, Robert Morabito DDS, and his team participated in the annual Mission of Mercy/ RAM project in Wise VA. The theme for the weekend was “Make America Smile Again”. It was held at the Fairgrounds outside under tents, tarps, mobile trailers and horse stalls in the blazing sun. Wise, an 8 hour drive from D.C. lies deep in the Appalachian Mountains in what was once prosperous coal country. Today, the coal mines have all but died with most of the supporting businesses departing leaving devastation in the community taking away not just jobs, healthcare, and financial well-being, but hope.
However, with the combined efforts for hundreds of volunteer dentists, staff, medical professional, and general volunteers we made huge impact on of the lives of 1,232 patients who received treatment. Those patients received dental care with over $1,313,789 of dental services donated. Patients came from as far as North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky to this annual medical- dental mission, which is the oldest and largest one in the nation and was started by the Virginia Dental Association.
In the past our team has focused on fillings, extractions and cleanings. This year our emphasis was complete smile rehabilitation through an amazing new process from Benchmark dental that allows us to fabricate new upper and lower dentures in about two hours. In fact, our denture team was able to provide more than 100 dentures during the weekend. “Life changing”, “Oh My God” , “I can’t stop smiling” – these are just a few of the comments by our patients as they walked in without teeth and walked out with a bright white smile that they may never have had. “Tears of joy, Smiles, and hugs were our only reward!”
Most of the patients we treated are complete dental cripples having struggled without any teeth for more than five and some as long as twenty years. This population simply does not have insurance or the money to pay for a set of dentures which on average can cost $4,000-5,000. It’s absolutely devastating and incredibly sad to see so many patients in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s not to have teeth, not to be able to eat a healthy meal or not smile. In fact, there is a waiting list of more than 700 patients for this one mission alone.
Dr Morabito and his team started their mission work following Hurricane Katrina, and then have gone abroad to El Salvador, Jamaica, Peru, and Haiti. This is our 12th Mission of Mercy project, and our second one to Wise. “I am truly honored and humbled to have been joined by my team, several of their children, and my father-in- law giving back, changing lives, and restoring dignity” says Dr. Morabito.
Contact our dental team in Falls Church to learn more about our volunteer work.