TIOGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – The Tioga County Public Health Department is celebrating 20 years of the Tioga Smiles Mobile Dental Program and its commitment to ensuring all county residents have something to smile about.
Since October of 2003, the program has served over 17,000 patients of all ages. It was created in response to the growing need for additional dental services in the county and has worked to reduce the number of barriers so residents can receive the care they require. Tioga County has been designated as a Dental Professional Shortage Area since 1971, kickstarting the idea for the program. According to their mission, they are “striving to ensure the oral health of the community by promoting proper oral health care, preventing oral diseases, and protecting vulnerable populations from access to care disparities.”
The program provides a variety of dental services to those in need such as dental screenings, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, fillings, and extractions. It functions as a school-based dental clinic and serves children right at their school building during the day. Adults are welcomed to use the services of the program during non-school hours and school breaks.
The original mobile dental unit was a 53-foot-long trailer that was used for 15 years until it was replaced by a smaller, drivable vehicle in 2019. The current mobile unit has two dental chairs, office space, and a waiting area. The mobile dental program is made possible by local dental professionals. Staff on hand include a dental director, dentist, dental hygienist, and dental assistant. The program accepts all dental insurances including Medicaid, plus offers a sliding fee scale for those without dental insurance.
For more information on the Tioga Smiles Mobile Dental Program, click here.