Mobile Dental Clinics Chipping Away Barriers to Care
Mobile charitable dental clinics, such as Missions of Mercy and others, treat literally thousands of underserved patients throughout the United States. That is because dental issues are not just restricted to dental health: The evidence is clear that lack of attention to one’s personal oral health can cause far-reaching, negative impact to one’s overall health as well.
Oral health in America
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report “Oral health in America: A report of the Surgeon General,” key barriers that can limit a person’s use of preventive interventions and treatments include:
- Limited access to and availability of dental services
- Lack of awareness of the need for care
- Cost of care
- Fear of dental procedures
Given this information, the importance of mobile charitable dental clinics is clear. While these clinics were never intended to be the final solution to the oral health crisis in America, they fill a very important gap in our system, and can bring long-term benefits for so many in need.
Worth the wait
Though lines at these clinics are often long, they largely eliminate the issue of access to and cost of care. Even those patients who fear dental procedures, once they get to a certain point of desperation, will often attend a free mobile clinic for much needed relief.
With these kinds of outcomes, mobile charitable dental clinics have secured a place in the American healthcare landscape for the foreseeable future. Patients are always grateful for the care they receive, which goes beyond just the physical. Volunteers greet patients and show them the kind of love and encouragement that enhances the overall clinic encounter, making their visit a memorable and positive oral health experience.
A story to smile about
As the equipment provider to large-scale mobile dental clinics throughout America, America’s Dentists Care Foundation (ADCF) gets to see many positive outcomes. Since 2008, ADCF-supported clinics have provided $200 million in care to more than 285,000 patients in 31 states.
Of all those patients, one stands out to me in particular: I had the good fortune to meet a woman who had been without teeth for 10 years. Before the ADCF-supported clinic intervened, she was stricken with the sunken lip and jaw typical of others with her condition; after she was treated, she flashed an amazing smile that lit up the whole arena. She felt whole again. She could eat again. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why we do what we do.
Bill Blasing, Executive Director, America’s Dentists Care Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org
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