NC Missions of Mercy (MOM) program wishes ALL a Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing you in 2015!
The NC MOM program congratulates the pre-dental students who have been accepted to dental school for next fall’s class! We hope your experience volunteering with our clinics helped you prepare for your interviews and education! CONGRATULATIONS.
NC MOM Volunteer Registration is NOW open for the March 6 – 7 Salisbury Clinic. To register, visit http://www.ncdental.org/meetings-events/nc-missions-of-mercy. Hope to see you there.
Happy Holidays to the NCMOM patients, volunteers and contributors!
Considering a year-end gift to a 501 (C) (3), consider the NC Dental Health Fund (NC Mission of Mercy) free dental clinic. Call 919 234 4027 for information.
NC MOM will be in Salisbury March 6 – 7. Mark your calendar and plan to volunteer.
Heading toward Boone on N.C. Highway 105, just after the entrance to Seven Devils, the speed limit drops to 35 mph. This is the community of Foscoe, N.C., a whisper of a mountain town that caters mostly to tourists motoring between Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain.
People will tell you that not much happens in Foscoe, other than an occasional traffic stop. But a little over five years ago, two important things happened. One was a Missions of Mercy dental clinic – better known as NCMOM — where a whole lot of local people in need got free dental care.
It’s also where a first year orthodontic resident and a student dental assistant fell in love.
Gary Tucker and Sarah Massey came to Foscoe and joined dozens of other MOM volunteers in November 2006. They almost didn’t come to the clinic at all. But fate intervened.
“We both attended the clinic only because each of us had a friend invite us,” Sarah, who was studying dental assisting at UNC-Chapel Hill at the time, said. “We came so close to never meeting.”
But Gary, who was in his first year of orthodontics residency at UNC, and Sarah had a chance meeting in the lobby of their hotel in the predawn hours as they were leaving for the MOM event that started at sunup.
“We were up really early and wearing scrubs, so it was safe to assume that we were all volunteering at the same clinic,” Sarah said.
“When we met I, of course, thought she was beautiful, but since we were trying to find out where the clinic was going to be that day, I was a little distracted about finding directions,” Gary said.
“It was funny that Sarah and her friend followed us to the clinic because they told us they knew where to go,” Gary said. ”Obviously they didn’t so we had to quickly catch the MOM truck so we could find our way.”
“I ended up assisting Gary’s friend during the clinic while Gary treated patients at the chair next to ours,” Sarah said.
It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, though. The two parted ways after the clinic and returned to student life as usual in Chapel Hill. But, they were bound to meet again.
“I never thought anything of Gary until the next week when he stopped me in the hall. We probably saw each other a hundred times in the UNC Dental School without noticing each other, but it took a trip to Foscoe for us to finally meet,” Sarah said.
After reconnecting, the two ate many lunches together on an old couch in UNC’s Dental School building.
“Once I got to know Sarah, some of the best parts of my day were at lunch. We would sit down on that dingy yellow couch to hang out,” said Gary. “We would just relax and talk about every topic imaginable.”
At Sarah’s invitation, the couple saw each other again at a Christmas party a few weeks later. She later found out that Gary, who had no transportation, rented a car just to come see her.
“When she invited me to her party, I had to get two things: a new jacket and a rental car. I though it was silly that I was in residency and didn’t even own a car at the time,” Gary said.
But it was money well spent. Gary stayed until all of the other guests left to spend time with Sarah, and the Tuckers were married on March 28, 2009.
They now own their own practice, Tucker Orthodontics, in Winston Salem, N.C.
“We have the same vision as far as giving exceptional care to our patients. This office couldn’t be a better fit for us. I refer to us as ‘The Tucker Team,’” Sarah said.
But, having your husband for a “boss” comes with its own set of consequences, admits Sarah.
“He always threatens to write me up if I get to the office a minute late, even though he’s the one driving us both to work,” she added.
Sarah and Gary continue to volunteer at NCMOM clinics, but these days they are working as a professional dental team, rather than at separate chairs.
“We really enjoy the opportunity that the MOM clinics give us to help our community,” said Sarah. “The happiness that we are able to give these patients makes it all worth it.”
It’s been said that NCMOM is, in fact, a special, lasting experience for those who come for treatment and for those who volunteer. But for the Tuckers, an NCMOM clinic in a tiny mountain town not only served as a meaningful way to serve the community, but also brought them together.
Our next clinic will take place this Friday (11/11) & Saturday (11/12) at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC! We can’t wait to see everyone there. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- We are still in need of volunteers! Please click here to sign up.
- If you cannot volunteer, please help us by spreading the word.
- The clinic is set to run from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. However, the closing time on Saturday may vary.
- Patients: in order to guarantee that receive care, please arrive as early as possible. Some patients will get in line the night before clinic dates. This is the best way to ensure that you get seen. If you cannot get in line the night before, make sure to be at the clinic very early the next morning.
- Volunteers: If you are helping setup the clinic on Thursday, you may wear shorts and casual clothing, but you must wear closed-toe shoes. NO FLIP FLOPS OR SANDALS. If you are volunteering at the clinic Friday and/or Saturday, you must also wear closed-toe shoes AND long pants. This is for your safety. We will not accept any volunteers who don’t follow these guidelines (and we hate that!).
CARY, N.C. — Halloween marks the start of a long candy- and dessert-intensive holiday season and that, says North Carolina Dental Society president Dr. Bob Hollowell, “is a good time to become more vigilant about how much sugar we consume, especially children.”
“Parents can let their children enjoy Halloween treats,” says Hollowell, “but it’s important they do so in a responsible way.”
Dental caries (cavities) are the most chronic childhood disease: 50% of children in the U.S. experience tooth decay by middle school and 70% by late adolescence. “During the holidays large quantities of sugar are consumed and it’s a time to be especially careful,” says Dr. Hollowell.
“When bacteria present in the mouth come into contact with sugar, they produce acid that attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or longer,” Hollowell says. “Repeated acid attacks can cause tooth enamel to break down, eventually resulting in decay.”
But all candies are not equally harmful. “Sticky candies such as gummies stick to the teeth longer, while others, such as chocolate are more quickly washed away with saliva or by rinsing. Hard sugary candies are held in the mouth longer, giving bacteria more time to create acid that weakens tooth enamel.”
“The popular sour candy is probably the worst because of its high acid levels,” warns Hollowell. “It’s also important for parents to realize that it is not the amount of sugar consumed that’s important, but how often. So, by nibbling small amounts of candy over long periods children can expose their teeth to acid levels that can cause decay.”
It takes up to 60 minutes for saliva to neutralize acid in the mouth, which means every time sugary foods or drinks are consumed, the teeth are under attack for an hour.
There are steps to enjoy Halloween treats and still help prevent tooth decay:
- Consume candy with meals rather than as snacks, because saliva flow increases during a meal.
- Brush or rinse after eating candy.
- Chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.
- Don’t suck on hard candy for a long period of time.
- Opt for quickly dissolved chocolates, as opposed to hard or sour candies.
- Use fluoride toothpaste or fluoride rinse to help remineralize tooth enamel broken down by acid.
- Avoid hard candy that can break a tooth or crack a crown.
- Don’t nibble. It’s better to enjoy several pieces of candy in one sitting (Four small pieces of candy eaten all at once cause less damage to tooth enamel than eating four pieces over a longer period of time.)
- Limit sugar intake to three meals and two snacks a day.
- Consider handing out healthy snacks – such as fruit or sugarless gum – to Trick or Treaters.
- See your dentist during or after the holidays to detect tooth decay early.
The next NCMOM clinic is this weekend! The clinic will be held at the Dare County Parks and Rec. Center, 602 S. Mustian Street, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948.
Please consider signing up to volunteer at ncdental.org under the “NCMOM” page or by clicking here.
Everyone may park in the school parking lots near the clinic and walk from there. There is also parking at the Baum Senior Center, located a couple of blocks North on Mustian Street.
Important Volunteer Dress Code Information:
Unloading Day: If you are volunteering at the clinic on Thursday, we want everyone to be comfortable since this is unloading day. Patient note: The NCMOM clinic is not accepting patients until Friday Morning. Shorts and t-shirts are acceptable on unloading day. The only MUST is CLOSED-TOE SHOES. No sandals, flip-flops, etc. We are lifting and setting up, so toes are vulnerable if exposed!