WA-Mobile-Dental-patient

Did you know?

We increase the impact of your gift by using volunteers and donated supplies to provide $6 in desperately-needed dental care for every $1 you donate.


Tremendous Need

Our Mobile Dental site partners report long waiting lists - in some cases the clinics are booked to capacity for several months.

volunteer-with-MTI

Volunteer

Volunteer in the US.
Learn More

Your Impact:

Your generous donations have helped over 50,000 people in the past 3 years!

Mobile Dental Program Objective:

The Mobile Dental Program provides free or low-cost urgent dental care services to low-income patients who lack dental insurance or any realistic way to pay for dental treatment.
mobile-dental-program

Oral Health Crisis in America:

Right outside of our doors, here in the United States, families are battling the intense pain, complications, and socio-economic challenges that come with severe dental problems.

In many areas of Oregon alone, there is a shortage of dental providers, and the number of available licensed dentists in the Pacific NW continues to decline.  While in theory all Oregon children are covered by Healthy Kids insurance, there are many reasons why they may be having trouble accessing it, such as difficulty finding providers nearby that will accept it.

A 2-3 hour drive to the closest dental provider requires parents to take off work. This means low-income kids and their parents (who are NOT usually covered by dental insurance) just don’t go.

As untreated dental issues progress, many uninsured people with dental crises turn to emergency rooms for pain relief. Up to 30% of uninsured individuals who visit hospital emergency rooms are cases that could be treated more effectively in a dental office.  Plus, ERs are not properly equipped to treat dental problems. ER treatment for dental disease is not only ineffective, but also costly for both patients and hospitals - approximately $765 per ER visit.

Our Approach:

Medical Teams International’s Mobile Dental program has been able to dramatically reduce ER expenses for uninsured patients with dental disease, providing effective treatment at an average $75 per patient.


We have a fleet of twelve Mobile Dental clinics in Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota, which visit many different partner locations. The Mobile Dental clinics are 38-foot converted motor homes. Each mobile clinic contains two dental operatories and all necessary equipment, instruments and supplies.

Our fully-equipped vans are staffed by licensed dentists, hygienists and dental assistants who volunteer their time to provide professional dental care. In partnership, some churches also can provide ongoing hospitality care teams.

We work through over 300 community partners, such as churches, schools, and health care companies, to arrange urgent care dental services. Urgent care dental services include procedures such as fillings and extractions. Our community partners manage all scheduling and appointments.

We also provide preventative care. For example, MTI has provided thousands of children with an easy-to-read brochure and a kid-friendly kit of basic dental supplies as well as classroom instruction from MTI staff and volunteers.

dental-volunteer
The success of the program is due to the voluntary work of dedicated dental professionals, partnering local churches, and gifts from donors like you.

Have you asked your dentist to volunteer?

volunteer-with-MTI

Program Goals:

  • Deliver free dental care to low-income people of all ages who lack insurance, a realistic way to pay for treatment, or reasonable access to dental care.
  • Provide care for those who are uninsured and fall below the 200th percentile of the Federal Poverty guidelines.
  • Form partnerships with dental professionals who donate their time and services, and with local organizations who host Mobile Dental van clinics.
  • Remove two of the primary obstacles to receiving dental care: cost and accessible location.
Click image to enlarge.
Dental-Crisis-Infographic

Recent Blog Posts about our Mobile Dental Program:

Impact Story: Fish for Teeth

by Katie Carroll | Feb 12, 2014

Our Mobile Dental program relies on variety of community partners to help provide dental clinics to those most in need. In 2012, Medical Teams International partnered with Fish for Teeth – a non-profit organization serving Washington’s San Juan County. Matt Marinkovich, a San Juan Island commercial fisherman and founder of Fish for Teeth, shares the impact MTI’s mobile dental care has had in his community.

fish-for-teeth-mobile-dental-mti

First off, the only reason Fish for Teeth exists is because in 2005 an eight-year-old girl came up to me out of the blue when I was at the elementary school playground with my daughter. She said to me "Wanna see my cavities?" and opened up her mouth to show me a mouth full of decay. That was the extent of our "scope of need" study; one and half years later Fish for Teeth was formed, complete with a Board consisting of fishermen and dentists.

A few years later, we were introduced to Medical Teams International’s Mobile Dental program. Their mobile dental vans equipped our volunteer dentists with all they needed to provide care. Since we partnered with MTI, we have had many instances that made us say "Thank God we're doing this!" Thumbing through the comment forms patients fill out after their visit really shows that we are reaching the people that need help. One woman said the pain was so bad she "thought she was going to die," while another woman said that she felt like her visit to the dental van "saved her life.”

I grew up with a lot of cavities and know what dental pain is like, and I cannot imagine having a toothache and not having a way to make it end. So I'm really glad to be a part of this to help people rid themselves of dental pain! During our most recent clinic, my wife met a woman who said her husband’s tooth had been hurting him so much he couldn't talk or sleep, and they didn't have money to see a dentist. My wife encouraged her to bring him to the clinic and they took care of the situation that day. This couple is just one example of the many people we see who need help - responsible families who are working two jobs, but still don't have the means to afford dental care. Thank you to MTI for giving Fish for Teeth the means to help so many people up in the San Juan Islands.

  • 50% Nearly half of adults over age suffer 
    from some for form of gum disease.
  • $765 Average cost per patient to treat dental emergencies in an ER.
  • 2x Children from lower-income families are
    almost twice as likely to have tooth decay.

How will you respond?