CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Health Right is reporting a busy first month for the organization’s new mobile dental clinic which serves low-income adults in six West Virginia counties.
Launched on July 17, the clinic treated 265 patients during stops through earlier this month in six counties: McDowell, Logan, Boone, Clay, Roane and Harrison.
“That’s 265 people out there in rural West Virginia that would otherwise go without care if not for this program,” said Angie Settle, executive director and CEO of West Virginia Health Right.
“We just pack as many appointments to see the dentist as we can — whether it be they need an exam, they need a filling, tooth pulled, whatever — and then, also alongside the dentist, we have a dental hygienist that’s working to do preventative care, such as cleanings,” Settle said.
Services are free for those without dental insurance or underinsured residents on Medicaid or Medicare who meet income requirements.
“We’re not in any kind of competition with any local dentists,” Settle noted. “Our services are strictly for those who would otherwise go without care.”
Currently, the mobile dental clinic is on the road three days per week on a rotating schedule that takes the clinic to each county two times every month.
On board the traveling facility are three dental chairs, an X-ray machine, a kitchen, microwave, bathroom and sterilization area.
The traveling dentist is Dr. Malav Shah, an assistant professor in the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s Department of Dentristry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
The dental hygienist and others working with the clinic are employees of West Virginia Health Right.
The following is the contact information for dental appointments via the West Virginia Health Right Mobile Dental Clinic:
Community Cares of WV-Clay Office
Roane General Hospital
Coalfield Health Center
Boone Memorial Hospital
Welch Community Hospital
The clinic does not treat children and does not provide partials, dentures or oral surgery.
Money will determine any future expansions of the mobile dental clinic, according to Settle.
“We’re getting calls about every week about different areas that want us to come to their area,” she said. “I’m a West Virginian, born and raised, and I would love to go everywhere we’re needed. Our limitations right now are funding.”
Settle said they’re pursuing potential sponsorships and grant funding. More information on that is available on the West Virginia Health Right website.