For Immediate Release
May 23, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS – The Marion County Public Health Department’s Dental Services program has a new and improved tool for providing dental services and education to area school children and others in the community. Today, the health department joined community partners and special guests in officially dedicating a new Smile Mobile.
The original Smile Mobile began operating in 1998 and was retired in January 2016 after logging more than 300,000 miles on the road around Marion County during its 17 ½ years of service.
The new mobile unit is a 40-foot, fully-equipped dental office, complete with a waiting and education area, a two-chair treatment area, and a complete sterilization area for dental equipment. Some of the services provided in the Smile Mobile include dental examinations, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments, X-rays, sealants (to prevent tooth decay), emergency treatments, simple extractions (pulled tooth), and oral cancer screenings.
The new Smile Mobile was made possible by funding from The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Richard Fairbanks Foundation, Indianapolis Foundation, and Walmart. Delta Dental is sponsoring the Treats for Teeth giveaway bags for the Smile Mobile.
When the Smile Mobile began rolling in 1998, the focus was on reaching students in Indianapolis Public Schools who were part of Head Start and the United Way’s Bridges to Success program. Today, in addition to Indianapolis Public Schools, the Smile Mobile also serves students in township school districts and private schools in Marion County. Plus, it provides dental outreach at community centers, health fairs, day cares and apartment complexes.
“Not only does the Smile Mobile allow us to give a child much-needed services, but it also gives us an opportunity to establish an on-going relationship with them through our dental clinics in Marion County,” said Tonya Stewart, D.D.S., director of Dental Services for the Marion County Public Health Department. “Our hard-working Smile Mobile staff is excited to know that this program will continue for many years.”
“I am very proud of the dental services we have provided, especially to children, in the past 17 years, “said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director of the Marion County Public Health Department. “Good dental hygiene is so important to a person’s overall health, and this new Smile Mobile will help us reach even more children and adults in Marion County with the dental care and education they need to stay healthy.”
Caine added that poor dental health can affect a person’s ability to eat nutritious food.
The Smile Mobile has served children at 128 schools in Marion County since the program began in 1998.
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Media/Public Information Coordinator
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