Mobile unit teams up with OU students to give Oklahomans free dental care

Posted on: 3:16 pm, January 21, 2014, by , updated on: 05:46pm, January 21, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY – As many Americans adjust to the New Year, others are scheduling their annual health checks.

However, price can always play a role in whether or not you go through with those appointments.

Now, a mobile dental unit is providing care to those in need.

On Tuesday, Mobile Smiles Oklahoma parked outside of Good Shepherd Ministries in Oklahoma City.

Stephanie Schmidt said, “Right now, we’re elevating tooth number 10 for an extraction, which means we’re taking the tooth out.”

Schmidt is a fourth year dental student who is volunteering with Mobile Smiles, a free dental care program.

Schmidt said, “It’s definitely an advantage, getting out and meeting a larger demographic than we get to see at the school.”

She’s helping patients like Patricia Smith, who don’t have dental insurance.

For Smith, it’s been 20 years since the last time her teeth were checked by a dentist.

She said, “I had infections and just needed to put my big girl panties on and do it.”

Good Shepard Ministries has been treating the medically vulnerable for years, but right now, it’s closed.

Organizers say they’re in the process of expanding to a seven chair dental clinic.

Dr. Jeannie Bath, with Good Shepard Ministries, said, “It’s been under construction though, which has been a really hard time for our patients who have come to rely on us for emergency extractions, instead of going to the emergency room or being in pain.”

For Schmidt, treating those in need is a rewarding way to learn and promote dental education.

She said, “We’re leaving a good impression with the community we’re serving that they will be more willing to come back in the future.”

For more information visit the Mobile Smiles website.