Mobile dental units are essentially a dentist’s office fitted into a large van or bus. They allow oral care to be delivered to patients virtually anywhere that roads can reach. While they are generally not necessary in highly populated urban areas — which generally already offer a good concentration of fixed, conventional dental facilities — they can be very useful in certain circumstances.
Slipping Through the Cracks
Sadly, there are currently numerous demographics in the country with zero or limited access to dental care. Groups that often fall into this category include Indian Reservations, poor inner city communities, some nursing home residents, migrant workers and their families, and small communities located in remote areas.
For each of these groups, construction of a new, dedicated dental care facility is often unrealistic financially, at least in the short term. This can be due to the overall high level of poverty in the community or the small number of potential patients, which would make generating sufficient revenue to cover operating costs difficult.
While transporting members of these disadvantaged groups to existing dental facilities is another potential option, it is also problematic. In some cases, the nearest facility is prohibitively far away. In others, simply organizing such a program and convincing a substantial number of people to participate in it is likely to be fraught with difficulty. For various reasons, including financial and cultural ones, people from these groups are sometimes uncomfortable with seeking care and services outside the bounds of their own communities.
An Effective Means of Helping the Disadvantaged
A vehicle-based mobile dental service solves all these issues. Since it can be driven nearly anywhere, it’s easy to set up shop wherever is most convenient and accessible for the potential patients. Whether that’s a remote, impoverished town way up in the mountains, a temporary migrant worker camp, or a violence-stricken inner city housing development, a functioning dentist’s office is just a road trip away.
The Next Step?
Medical care providers and administrators who are interested in learning more about mobile care units can do so by getting in touch with a provider company such as Lifeline Mobile. On their website, you can request a free planning guide. They offer solutions for dental, medical, laboratory, and mammography vehicles.