In Lake Placid, Florida, uninsured residents are enjoying the newest dental facility to roll into town – literally. The Florida Baptist Mobile Care Bus, which is staffed with local dental assistants and dentists, provides free emergency dental care through its mobile dental ministry.
The Mobile Care Bus made its first stops in areas of Highlands County, where visits were coordinated through First Baptist and Samaritan’s Touch Care Center, a non-profit medical clinic.
Those residents who utilized the services of the Mobile Care Bus had to pre-register. They also had to be interviewed and had to be uninsured, including both Medicare and Medicaid. They also had to show proof of income for the past few weeks. Only those patients falling at or below the 150-percent poverty level qualified to be treated.
Two area dentists, along with a team of dental assistants and dental hygienists, volunteered their time to this cause. All dentists and dental assistants and hygienists completed application forms that indicate no form of compensation was to be collected.
Full-Service Dental Care in a Mobile Dental Lab Setting
The volunteer dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants working in the mobile dental lab provide basic dentistry, such as tooth extractions and fillings. There are two separate examination rooms in the lab. Should more extensive work be required, local dentists may treat patients in their offices.
The mobile dental units also feature x-ray equipment, supplies, dental instruments, and fiber-optic hand pieces. Mobile dental coordinators also help to ensure that all instruments are sterilized and organized.
Reaching Those in Need Throughout Florida
After leaving the Lake Placid area, the mobile unit is driven to other locations by licensed transportation-maintenance coordinators, who are responsible for preparing the unit for operation. Project Coordinator Teams, which oversee four regions throughout the State of Florida, are called upon to maintain the everyday operations of the unit. On the opposite end, churches and other organizations that provide services to the underserved work to sponsor the services in their area.
Every year, the mobile unit provides more than 40 weeks of dental care.