Lifechanging dental care for smiles ever better.

Lifechanging dental care for smiles ever better.

A fleet of SMILEmobiles bring free dental care to children and adults in underserved communities, reducing barriers and providing access to vital treatment.

The SMILEmobile—a program of the Eastman Institute for Oral Health—is one of the University’s many outreach initiatives. A self-contained traveling dental clinic, it’s wheelchair-accessible and designed to reach underserved or hard-to-reach populations, including people living in poverty, as well as older adults and people with developmental disabilities and other medically complex conditions.

Today, the SMILEmobile program serves underinsured and uninsured children in 15 city schools and three Head Start programs. By visiting schools directly, the SMILEmobiles eliminates the need for parents to miss work to take their child to a dental visit and allows students to miss as little of the school day as possible. The SMILEmobiles have had a significant impact on preventing tooth decay for the more than 39,000 children it has served. Schools where the SMILEmobile goes have reported an increased school performance among its students.

“If it weren’t for the Eastman SMILEmobile, a lot of our kids would get no dental care at all,” says Darlene Pelow-Sullivan, former Social Worker at School No. 2, Rochester. “They would be suffering from abscesses and decay. You can’t learn if your mouth is hurting, or if even if you don’t feel good about yourself.  Kids that go to the SMILEmobile are better prepared, they definitely have much better oral hygiene. It’s really been a great service for our school. ”

In addition to K–12 students, SMILEmobiles also visit area nursing homes, refugee centers, college campuses, group homes, and other places to provide much needed access for oral health care. The SMILEmobiles have also helped to train pediatric and general dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants in treating patients with special and complex needs.

Did you know?

  • Tooth decay impacts academic performance, a leading cause of absenteeism. Children nationwide miss almost 52 million school hours each year because of dental problem.
  • Tooth decay is the single most preventable chronic childhood disease.
  • Oral health is a major health problem for children living in communities of poverty.
  • The American Dental Association estimates that about one third of people in the U.S. won’t see a dentist this year due to a variety of barriers to care.

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