Tioga County has a new and improved way to help children take care of their pearly whites.
The county’s public health department cut the ribbon on a $475,000 mobile dental unit.
The 40 foot-long truck replaces a trailer that served the Tioga Smiles program since 2003.
The unit spends several weeks at a time at different schools around Tioga County offering cleanings and check-ups on a sliding scale for students who are low-income or lack access to dental care.
Tioga Smiles also employs a part-time dentist to perform fillings and extractions.
Deputy Public Health Director Sue Medina says the custom designed interior offers more privacy and a more relaxing atmosphere. “We really designed the inside to be welcoming. And also, if anybody’s anxious or nervous, to kind of give a more friendly feeling.”
Medina says that while the new unit is slightly smaller than the old trailer, it doesn’t require a truck to tow it and it will be more maneuverable.
It’s scheduled to go into service next month when Tioga Smiles visits the Candor School District.
Over the Summer, it’ll be stationed at various community centers where it will serve both low-income kids and adults.