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Healthwatch 16: Geisinger mobile dental unit serves those in need

Since June of 2019, Geisinger Health Services has been bringing dental care to those in need, thanks to its mobile dental unit.

KULPMONT, Pa. — For more than a year, the Geisinger mobile dental unit has been providing dental care to hundreds of people in our area. The mobile unit serves those who don't have access to dental services.

"We try to eliminate the transportation barrier by coming to them out into the community sites. Any of the members that we are seeing on the mobile dental unit is at no cost to the patient," Dr. Kristen Schintz said.

Many of the patients who are seen on the mobile dental unit are either children or senior citizens. The bus recently visited LIFE Geisinger in Kulpmont. LIFE Geisinger is a program for adults over 55 who made need support living at home.

"Having the dental unit come to us makes it a lot easier to get our folks' care since it is difficult to access dental care in the community," Wendy Rishel of LIFE Geisinger said.

"The LIFE Geisinger bus takes me down to the appointment, and then they come and get me after it is all done, and they bring me back to the clinic here," said Butch Mickalowski, a Kulpmont resident.

The 38-foot-long van is outfitted with two fully equipped operation areas. The mobile dental unit provides a number of services.

"We are offering dental radiographs, dental cleanings, exams, sealants, and fluoride applications," Dr. Schintz said.

Appointments for the mobile dental unit are made nearly a year in advance. So far, Geisinger has serviced over 1,000 people on the bus. The onboard dentists also work with patients to set them up with their own dentist in their area.

"We are placing the patients with a dental home, a dentist in the community that they can follow up with for their comprehensive dental care needs."

For information on the dental care unit and to schedule your visit, call 570-452-7430 or email MobileDentalUnit@geisinger.edu.