What Does a Mobile Dentist Do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A mobile dentist provides services in a traveling office for patients who cannot visit a fixed facility. Trailers and large vans can be used to establish a mobile dental clinic, or the dentist may visit clinics with the ability to support dental services, but no permanent dentist on staff. A variety of services including tooth cleaning, fillings, and checkups can be offered this way. For more advanced dental surgery like wisdom teeth removal and implants, it may be necessary to visit a dental clinic.

Mobile dentists travel to poor areas to assist patients who normally would not be able to afford a dentist.
Mobile dentists travel to poor areas to assist patients who normally would not be able to afford a dentist.

Patients may see a mobile dentist for a variety of reasons. Some provide treatment to low-income patients and may be subsidized or funded entirely by government agencies and charities. Their patients visit for free or at a low cost. This type of treatment is often targeted at schools, which may provide a large base of low-income patients who might otherwise be difficult to access. The mobile dentist can see people to provide basic dental care and dental hygiene education to protect their teeth.

A mobile dentist generally offers teeth cleanings.
A mobile dentist generally offers teeth cleanings.

Disabled patients and older adults can also benefit from the services of a mobile dentist. They may have trouble getting into a clinic, while a mobile trailer can be accessible. Dentists may personally visit clients or set up at a central location to allow patients to come to them. Especially in remote areas, this can provide more regular access to dental services than would be available through visits to a clinic.

Dental clinics are usually required if in-depth procedures such as wisdom teeth removal are required.
Dental clinics are usually required if in-depth procedures such as wisdom teeth removal are required.

On the other end of the scale, some mobile dentists work with wealthy clients who want the convenience of a mobile office. They can park at a company for personnel who need dental attention but don’t have time to visit a clinic. The mobile dentist may offer tooth whitening and other cosmetic procedures to patients in addition to basic care. In some cases, employers may sponsor the visit as part of the employee benefits, through arrangement with the insurance company that covers dental care for personnel.

Working in mobile environments requires making sure the van is fully stocked with supplies and equipment, as well as training personnel to work in spaces that may be cramped due to limited space. The mobile dentist also needs to consider issues with dental records, since patients may not have an established relationship with the practice. This can require collecting quick histories at each visit to get an overview, as well as working with electronic medical records to increase the chance of being able to pull up older patient records from other dentists.

A mobile dentist may fill the cavities of clients.
A mobile dentist may fill the cavities of clients.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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