Volunteer FAQs

What is Mission of Mercy (MoM)?
IndianaMoM is a large-scale dental clinic that provides free oral health care to patients of all ages who cannot otherwise afford or access care. MoM events across America have helped more than thousands of patients and have provided millions of dollars in free dental services since 2000. IndianaMoM began in 2015 and is held in odd-numbered years.

What can I expect at IndianaMoM?
You will be among 1,000+ other dental and lay volunteers working in a variety of areas throughout the clinic. Large lines of people seeking treatment will form the night prior to the event. Know that your time and dedication are going to a great cause — helping to make IndianaMoM a success by providing dental care to those in need!

What services are provided?
Services typically include cleanings, fillings, extractions and oral hygiene education.

How many and what kind of volunteers are needed?
We will need technical volunteers, such as dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, equipment technicians and nurses as well as dental, hygiene, and assisting students. We will need volunteers to assist with hospitality and facility management. We also need translators, patient escorts and runners.

If I volunteer at a MoM event, can I get treatment as a patient?
Volunteering at IndianaMoM does not guarantee treatment or preferential advantage as a patient. If you need dental treatment, make that your first priority and come to IndianaMoM as a patient. We appreciate your desire to give back, but we will have enough volunteers to operate the clinic.

Can I participate if I’m not a dentist or other dental professional?
Absolutely! There are many areas we will use your help! We’ll need a variety of volunteers to make this event a success. We will need volunteers to assist with hospitality and facility management. We will also need translators and to be patient escorts and runners.

As a provider, what type/ages of patients will I see?
Providers will be seeing mostly adults ages 18 and older. There is a pediatric department where most children/adolescents will be seen. There will be kids who come in with no restorative needs and who could see a hygienist, but we foresee that to be a small percentage.

If I see adult patients for hygiene, how extensive will the treatment be? Am I expected to do deep scaling or just routine care?
Treatment will be oral hygiene instruction and prophylaxis (polishing and scaling) or full mouth debridements. We are limited in what we can do with periodontal treatment and will not be doing quadrant scaling/root planing. It is likely that most adults will require a debridement. In order to do some debridements, anesthetic may be required. Prophys or debridements can be labor intensive, especially with appointment lengths limited in time. We will have some Cavitrons available to help accomplish these treatments in an efficient manner. There are regional hygiene programs/schools that patients will be given information about after treatment. This gives them a discount option to pursue additional periodontal treatment if they choose.

Will the hygienist be able to have an assistant or will I be working by myself?
Hygienists may bring their own assistant if they desire one, and assistants will need to bring their own chairs. Generally speaking, volunteer assistants will be utilized first for providers doing extractions and restorations.

Do I need to bring any equipment or materials?
No, all basic equipment and supplies needed to provide treatment will be on site. However, we encourage you to bring a tackle box/tub of your favorite supplies and anything that will make you comfortable and productive and not totally reliant on the basic clinic equipment. Please label all of your personal belongings. As the event approaches, we will post a list of the equipment, supplies and materials that will be provided.

How do my instruments get sterilized?
There will be a very specific method to sterilization. Your instrument set-ups will be labeled by you, sterilized separately and returned to you.

If I wear nitrile gloves, should I bring my own?
Yes. There will be nitrile gloves available if you forget, but they may not be the exact kind you prefer to use. We recommend that everyone who has a “favorite” something to bring it with them. We suggest that you organize and bring a tackle box/tub of your favorite supplies, including gloves.

What do I need to bring?
We ask that all volunteers bring:

  • A good attitude, patience and the ability to be flexible.
  • Any of your favorite/preferred work materials, such as your own gloves, masks, loupes, stool and any supplies or instruments in an organized tackle box/tub.
  • Your registration packet that will be emailed to you several days prior to the event. It will include your parking pass with all other instructions and communications.
  • Appropriate attire (see What Should I Wear?)

Can I register an entire group to volunteer, such as a class or church group?
Each individual volunteer must register separately. There will be a place for you to note if you are signing up with another group of volunteers or if you would like to work with a team or individual.

If I am left-handed, do I need to communicate that in advance?
No. All of the clinical equipment is easily adjusted to accommodate a right- or left-handed clinician.

Can dental students volunteer to work on the clinic floor?
IndianaMoM is a high-production triage clinic, and therefore the greatest need will be for experienced dentist volunteers. Dental students may provide treatment only if a prearranged faculty member has made arrangements with IndianaMoM on the student’s behalf prior to the clinic and is present and monitoring, and if there are open chairs without licensed providers waiting. There will likely be times when students are asked to perform functions other than providing direct care. Dental student volunteers will learn a lot from observation and their familiarity with dentistry makes them valuable volunteers.

My license is active in another state. Can I still volunteer to provide dental care?
Yes, but you must apply for a temporary Indiana license no more than 60 days prior to the event. We ask out of state dentists to provide proof of their temporary Indiana license no later than May 1. Additionally, all dentists must provide proof of their malpractice coverage. Click here for more information.

What liability coverage will be in place at IndianaMoM?
The Indiana Dental Association will have professional liability insurance coverage in place for dentists and hygienists who are not insured through a primary policy. Dentists who have coverage are required to send a copy of their individual declarations/endorsements page to the IDA before the IndianaMoM event. The steps to do this include:

  • Register online for IndianaMoM.
  • Send the completed Volunteer Work Form to your medical malpractice carrier to request a copy of your declaration/endorsement page.
  • Once you receive the declaration/endorsement page from your insurance carrier (make sure it includes a policy expiration date), send it to the IDA. This ensures that you are eligible to participate at IndianaMoM.
  • Fax the declaration/endorsement page to 317-634-2612 Attn: MoM no later than May 1.

Can my assistant be assigned to assist me during the event?
Yes. Please make note of it on the volunteer registration form. Also make sure your assistant registers separately and notes whom they will be assisting on their form.

Will snacks or lunch be provided?
Yes. A hospitality room will be setup for your use during the event. Continental style breakfast items, buffet lunches, snacks, water and other refreshments will be available.

Do you need help during the set up process?
Yes. We need approximately 100 volunteers to set up and 100 volunteers to tear down the clinic. Those spots can be selected through the online registration.

Can minors/teens volunteer?
We ask all volunteers be at least 16 years of age. Any volunteers in the clinic area must be at least 18.

How will special needs for volunteers be addressed?
The entire clinic will be wheelchair accessible. If you have other physical special needs we will do everything we can within our abilities to help with your accommodations.

What should I wear?
IMG_1738Scrubs, jeans, capri pants and comfortable closed-toe shoes are recommended. Be comfortable and ready for a fun day of dentistry and patient interaction. You will be given a volunteer t-shirt at registration. All volunteers must wear their provided IndianaMoM t-shirt while on the clinic floor.

What are the standards for Personal Protection Equipment?
All dental health care personnel engaged in direct patient-care in the clinical areas must use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (e.g., gloves, masks, protective eyewear or face shield). IndianaMoM will supply gloves, masks and disposable gowns. You will want to bring your own safety glasses for your assistant.

Can I earn CE credits for my time spent at IndianaMoM?
No. There will not be any continuing education (CE) credits offered for volunteering. We feel the real benefit is offering the care to those in need.

How do I or my organization/church/workplace become an IndianaMoM donor or sponsor?
Sponsorships and donations to support the IndianaMoM project should be made through the Indiana Dental Association Foundation. You can complete this process through the online IndianaMoM donation form or you can complete a printed form and mail a check. The IDAF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. All contributions go directly to the IndianaMoM project.

I’d like to tell others about this event. How can I promote it?
If you are interested in volunteering at IndianaMoM or encouraging others to do so, please download an IndianaMoM Volunteer Flyer and post where others may see it. If you are interested in sharing with other individuals who cannot otherwise afford or access care and may benefit from this charitable effort, please download a Patient Information Flyer and post where others may see it. You also are welcome to share this event through email, on Facebook, etc.