Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic was launched in 2011. It not only provides much-needed dental services to the underserved and homeless, but it also treats survivors of human trafficking. Specifically, Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic gives free dental care to those who are 150 percent below the poverty level and are not insured.
Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic partners with churches and organizations throughout the Tampa Bay region. It uses all volunteers to provide dental care, including dentists, dental assistants and dental hygienists. The partnering church or organization also provides volunteers to help get the patient into the chair. The volunteers help by checking each patient’s blood pressure and medical history. Furthermore, they check to see if the patient qualifies financially.
In order to receive the free service, the patient needs to be qualified by the Department of Health. In addition, if the patient is interested, the partner church or organization may offer spiritual care.
Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic brings its mobile dental truck directly to the location where the services are offered. At each location, Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic will have two dentists and assistants in the mobile clinic and two to four dental hygienists inside the partner location.
Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic can perform dental cleanings, fillings and extractions.
The partner churches and organizations reach out to the members of the community they serve and alert those who need free dental service and advise them when the Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic will be bringing its truck to the area.
Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic offers one to two free clinics per month, or averages approximately 18 free clinics per year. It typically sees 15-20 people per visit.
Mary Marquette, RDH, program director of Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic, said, “We do not advertise, as the partner church or organization provides the patients in their area who are in need of dental care.”
Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic serves the jobless, those who are in low-paying jobs, the homeless, the elderly and migrant workers. It is able to provide free services because it operates through donations of supplies, time and money. It also receives grants which help to offset the cost of operating the mobile clinic.
For more information on Mission Smiles Mobile Dental Clinic, please visit www.missiontampa.org/missionsmiles.