Assistant Professor and Chair of Pediatric Dentistry at Oregon Health and Science University Dr. John Engle is a big fan and supporter of Medical Teams International's Mobile Dental Program. In fact, Dr. Engle feels the value of the program, and its partnership with the school of dentistry, is best described in not one, but three key parts.
First and foremost he openly discussed the value of the program, specifically for children, by serving as an excellent and practical resource for dental care. If a parent has to take time off of work to drive their child to and from a dentist office miles away from their home, school or work, the likelihood that they will do so is significantly decreased. To meet this need, the Mobile Dental Clinic brings dentists directly to the children while they are at school eliminating a major obstacle in pediatric oral health and providing a continuity of care for repeat patients.
Second, the Mobile Dental Program is an excellent training tool for the students of Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).
“The dental van is our go-to outlet for training,” said Dr. Engle.
“Providing pediatric procedures in an educational setting is challenging. Our dental students receive about 70% of their pediatric clinical experience through the Mobile Dental Program.”
Finally, the Mobile Dental Program serves as a vehicle for philanthropic involvement for the students within the dentistry program at OHSU. Dr. Engle hopes that through their involvement with the Mobile Dental Program, a seed will have been planted that will inspire volunteerism throughout their professional careers.
“The value of the Mobile Dental Program to the school of dentistry is to provide clinical experience and a philanthropic outlet for our students and residents, while at the same time helping to meet a critical need in the community,” said Engle.
Additionally, Dr. Engle briefly touched on the cost-savings benefits of the Mobile Dental Program to the hospitals. Dr. Engle estimated that about 30% of Emergency Room visits in Oregon, especially amongst adults, are dental related emergencies. With an average Emergency Room bill reaching over $600, many of which are left unpaid, the Mobile Dental Program provides both savings for the hospitals and excellent dental care for those in need.
“It really is a neat relationship,” said Dr. Engle. “If the program ceased to exist, I don’t know what we’d do.”
Story by Krystal Foote