In addition to cost, transportation and time remain significant barriers to accessing oral care in Chicago and its southern suburbs. The shortage of pediatric dentists accepting Medicaid mean that there are many neighborhoods without dentists that patients could otherwise access. Many of the families served by our member clinic, Mobile Care Chicago, work multiple jobs or have multiple children to care for. Taking time out to travel across or into the city and waiting for an appointment is particularly difficult for these families. Mobile Care Chicago is currently one of only two school-based providers with full continuity of care, including restorative treatment, for these school districts. Since entering these areas, the presence of dental decay among students has been cut by over 50%. Mobile Care Chicago recently shared a story about Kara, a student at a local elementary school and one of the 140 additional students added to the Mobile Dental Program from the district thanks to support from America’s ToothFairy:
"Like many of our patients in the district, Kara has had significant difficulty accessing oral health care. When she first came to the Mobile Dental Program in December she had nine cavities and needed two teeth extracted. Lacking experience with a dentist, Kara was also extremely apprehensive about her appointments. Kara has come a long way since she first came aboard the Dental Van. After four visits with the dental team, she feels much more comfortable going to the dentist, is now demonstrating good oral hygiene habits, and is on track to have a healthy smile for a lifetime.
Kara’s case is a perfect example of the great underlying need in the city as well as the southern and western suburbs. With proper access to preventative dental care and education, Kara’s four treatment appointments could have been avoided.
This year, about a third of our patients were uninsured. Support from America’s ToothFairy ensured that Mobile Care was able to cover each of those uninsured visits for kids just like Kara. Beyond that, America’s ToothFairy funding ensures that kids in the community will be able to receive the preventative dental care they need to maintain healthy smiles for years to come, preventing them from needing extensive restorative work like Kara’s."
Learn more about how YOU can help kids access annual preventive care as part of our Be the ToothFairy campaign.