Zach Kouri says there's nothing more satisfying for him as a dentist than restoring a patient's front teeth.
"They may have had hard times getting jobs, being in relationships, and wanting to smile," he says, "but when you give them their front teeth, they are just beaming with joy."
Kouri (97BS, 03DDS), president of the Iowa Dental Association and president-elect of the Iowa Dental Foundation, is one of many University of Iowa alumni dentists who help organize or participate in the annual Iowa Mission of Mercy event, which brings free dental care to Iowans who can't otherwise afford it or who don't have insurance.
Every year since Iowa Mission of Mercy began in 2008, the UI College of Dentistry has co-sponsored the Iowa Dental Foundation-run clinic and sent student and faculty volunteers to assist. Kouri says Iowa Mission of Mercy provides UI students with invaluable clinical experience. "Their excitement is palpable," he says. "They finally get to use their skills to help people, and they're just great to have around."
The event is typically hosted in one Iowa city each year, but in 2021 dentists statewide will select dates in October to offer free dental care in their clinics. Services include cleanings, scaling and root planing, extractions, fillings, and simple root canals. Visit Iowa Mission of Mercy online for more information about the fall clinics.
patients served by Iowa Mission of Mercy since 2008
in dental care provided by Iowa Mission of Mercy since 2008