Mobile Dental Unit makes dental care for children in a rural area possible

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In the County of Chautauqua, there are about thirteen percent families living in the area belongs to the less fortunate.  In spite of this, there are no dentists to help them when they are suffering from tooth related problems.

It is obvious that money is the main concern.  In today’s world, no one will work for free.  I know that there are charitable institutions out there, but it also need government support to fund the organization’s needs.

Medicaid compensation for dentist is much lower than those private insurers are paying.  The majority of dentists think that providing dental aid to a rural area is not worth it since the poor people cannot afford to pay for their service.

Access to such dental care has been a problem for such a long time on most rural area, but in 1997, the dental school at the University at Buffalo tried a different approach to aid the poor by bringing in Mobile Dental Unit.

As its name implies, the dental unit can be move from one place to another place, so the volunteer dentists can help more people by bringing the clinic closer to the poor.  The said unit manned by three dentists and a lot of staffs.

The van goes to school and community center so that they could screen and treat children for dental cavities, or other minor dental problems.

The guy who helps in organizing the program, Jim Harris says people living in the rural area lack dental knowledge.  They do not know what regular visit to the dentist could do for them.

Most of the children in these areas are taken to the dental clinic to have their painful teeth remove.  A child, who goes to see a dentist now forced to pay a high dental fee while missing school.

Since the doctor wants the children to go to their clinic, they have decorated the van with Dora, the Explorer and Scooby Doo stickers.  The best way to convince a child to go to the dentist is to give them something they would appreciate.

As the people operating the van need money for their everyday needs, UB is seeking outside sources to fund their dental service and for buying a new van at the same time.  If the university did not get outside support, the university is going to shut down the operation after 2 years.

Luckily for them that a federal grant costing $500,000 awarded to the university.  The volunteer is so happy upon learning about the grant.