Late fall is a great time of year, where holidays are celebrated with candy and sweet treats. Enjoying all that sugary goodness can come at a cost to your oral health. Fortunately, the United Way of Northeastern SD (United Way) and Avera Health have been partnering in our region to bring in the Delta Dental Mobile services to the Aberdeen area for many years. They’ve helped thousands of children and young adults with dental care and oral health education.
The Delta Dental Mobile Program provides oral health services to children who don’t have access to dental care. The program includes two mobile dental clinic trucks — Molar 1 and Molar 2 — that travel the state and provide dental services to anyone 1 to 21 years of age. The Mobile Program serves approximately 5,000 kids across South Dakota every year. Care provided through the Mobile Program is at no cost to the child or family.
Delta Dental of South Dakota (DDSD) manages, operates, and staffs the trucks. The United Way and Avera Health act as site partners to host a truck visit, providing the location, promoting the clinic, and recruiting and registering patients. Each truck travels with a dentist, hygienist, two dental assistants and a coordinator. It costs approximately $26,000 per week to operate each truck. United Way is only charged a modest stipend of $2,500 per week for the clinic visit. Currently, Aberdeen books five weeklong visits.
In 2001, Aberdeen received five weeks of service that included 185 children treated, 435 teeth that were identified with decay, and 708 sealants placed. The total production value of the dental services was over $147,000! The 2022 numbers look to be much higher as some of the pandemic protocols ease and allow more children to be seen.
“The Delta Dental Program is incredible. Seeing the relief they provide to so many kids is absolutely worth the investment,” said Aaron Schultz, United Way. “Often times, it is tough to quantify results, but the folks at Delta Dental track every step along the way. For a $10,000 investment we receive a production value of over $147,000. That is a return of over $14 for every dollar invested.”
Avera Health in Aberdeen is the site location and invested in a special electrical box for the mobile unit to ‘plug’ into while working in Aberdeen. Typically, the mobile units run off generators but in the Aberdeen area, kids can see the dentist without the roar and vibration of the mobile generator running. Delta Dental has partnered with the Helpline Center to provide an easy way to register your child. Simply call 211 and ask for the next time the Delta Dental Mobile Unit with be in Aberdeen and you can register your child at that time. //