Dental anxiety runs high in many people who need to get one of their teeth pulled. Now imagine having eight teeth removed in one visit.

From left to right, Assurant Employee Benefits employees Cory Reynolds and Matt Bertholf were among the volunteers at the 2014 Kansas Mission of Mercy dental clinic that helped 1,200 people receive critical oral health care. Assurant Employee Benefits is a long-time supporter of the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation, which organizes the annual event.

That’s just what happened to one of the patients at the 2014 Kansas Mission of Mercy dental clinic recently held in Dodge City, KS. Instead of being petrified about getting into the dentist chair the patient was thrilled to have the seat.

“The patient was so relieved when the dentist removed the teeth that caused him so much pain,” said Matt Bertholf, an event volunteer and network development supervisor at Assurant Employee Benefits. “It was great to see him get the care that he needed. It made me appreciate being able to go the dentist whenever I need to. Not everyone is as fortunate.”

Fear keeps many people out of the dentist’s office, but so does the expense. To help address this issue, the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation organizes the annual dental clinic to provide funding and resources to improve oral health in the state. The Kansas Mission of Mercy is the Foundation’s main event, a free three-day dental clinic providing teeth extractions and cleanings, which served almost 1,200 patients this year.

“I was happy to volunteer for this effort because my mom grew up in a small town in central Kansas where people did not have access to affordable dental care,” said Cory Reynolds, Assurant Employee Benefits dental network manager and Mission of Mercy volunteer. “For many of the patients, this is their only opportunity to receive dental care during the year.”

Assurant Employee Benefits has partnered with the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation for 10 years, supporting local organizations that promote health and wellness through the charitable arm of the Assurant Foundation.