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NYU College of Dentistry celebrates new mobile dental van

The new van is equipped with two dental chairs and has an open layout that allows for more flexibility than the previous van did. It also provides increased ease of access for visitors in wheelchairs. (Photograph: NYU College of Dentistry)

Wed. 27. February 2019


NEW YORK, U.S.: Affordable health care is a major issue in many parts of the world. Since 2000, the New York University College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) has provided dental services in a specially equipped dental van in an attempt to aid those who may not be able to afford a trip to the dentist. The program, called “Smiling Faces, Going Places”, has recently introduced a new mobile van, which was funded by the New York City Council. It will travel to the five boroughs to bring quality dental care and education to New York City children and seniors at no cost to patients.

“Our ‘dental office on wheels’ fills a critical need in New York City, making oral health care more accessible to underserved communities,” said Dr. Andrew Schenkel, director of community-based dental education at NYU Dentistry. “We are grateful to the City Council for its continued support of our mobile dental van program and enabling us to bring healthy smiles to thousands of New Yorkers each year.”

Dental services provided include examinations and radiographs; preventive services, such as cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants and oral hygiene instruction; fillings and simple tooth extractions. In addition to providing dental services, the van provides a level of oral health education to help ensure that information learned can also be taken back into the home environment.

“Our mobile care program is designed to reduce the barriers to accessing dental care by bringing care directly to those in need. This includes children, whose parents might otherwise have to take off work to bring them to the dentist, as well as older New Yorkers who may have difficulty getting around or may have other medical issues,” said Constance Robinson-Turner, manager of NYU Dentistry’s mobile dental care program.

The new “Smiling Faces, Going Places” van began making visits to partner organizations in New York City in September 2018. The van and its team—including experienced dentists, dental students, and other health care professionals—spend three days a week focused on caring for children and two days a week caring for older adults.  Operating year-round, the van visits public schools, childcare centers, senior centers, community centers and health fairs to treat roughly 2,000 New Yorkers each year.

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