New mobile dental health unit provides dental exams and preventive services at no cost
DANVILLE, Pa. – Although largely preventable, cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States and are twice as likely in children from low-income families.
However, many children have not seen their dentists due to COVID-19. With its new mobile dental services unit, Geisinger has taken dental care on the road to deliver no-cost dental exams and preventive services to children in pre-K through grade 12 throughout its service area.
The 38-foot-long bus is outfitted with two fully equipped dental operatories to provide a full spectrum of preventive and diagnostic services at no cost, such as dental exams, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants, as well as home care education and nutritional counseling.
“Some of the most common barriers to proper dental health are transportation, access to care and financial barriers,” said Kristen Schintz, DMD, medical director for dental services at Geisinger Health Plan. “We hope to alleviate those barriers by going into underserved areas and developing relationships with schools so that patients can be seen during their school day.”
The bus will rotate to different schools and locations in Geisinger’s footprint with the goal of improving oral health in the community, educating children and parents, and helping them find a permanent dental home. Children will also receive a sealed envelope including any concerns identified during the exam, plus oral health home-care instructions, nutrition resources and a complimentary toothbrush.
“At this time, we are primarily focused on seeing school-aged children, as they are one of the most vulnerable groups,” said Dr. Schintz. “We are very hopeful that by educating children and parents about home care and nutrition, the information they receive will really stick with them and they will have the opportunity to develop healthier habits going forward.”
In accordance with COVID-19 precautions, patients are being contacted and scheduled for appointments on the bus. Appointments are being separated to allow for appropriate physical (social) distancing and additional cleaning between visits.
For information and to schedule your visit, call 570-452-7430 or email MobileDentalUnit@geisinger.edu.
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