Mobile dentistry – Weighing the pros and cons
Mobile dentistry has proven to be useful in states where residents don’t have adequate access to local clinics. Some well-established and government-aided mobile dental clinics are also working for the greater cause by bringing affordable dental care to locals in rural and suburban areas.
Mobile dental clinics have the advantage of operating in a broad geographic sphere, which wouldn’t otherwise be possible with fixed facilities. Even so, some dentists retain their fixed facilities while expanding to mobile clinics as well. The improved area of operation also means better visibility for these facilities, as these dental vans often act as a marketing billboard that follows everywhere they go.
This can also help in bringing in new customers for their business, improving their revenue. The disadvantages lie in the fact that the operation costs are steep, while the space may also affect the productivity of the staff calling for better co-ordination. Furthermore, they are liable to accidents and need to shell out additional amounts for maintaining the vehicle. Adverse weather conditions can also dampen their functionality.
The mobile dentistry debate
There has been a lot of speculation on the standard of medical care provided in mobile dental clinics. Many states are establishing stringent standards for all mobile dentist units to follow to receive permits for operation. The state of Texas for example, necessitates that mobile dental facilities should hold a valid permit and be registered under the State Board to carry out services, aside from a few exceptions. Same goes with Louisiana which mandates permit grant for mobile dentists to operate in the area.
While many mobile dentist services operate to provide better dental care opportunities to individuals who are otherwise denied of it, primarily due to financial concerns, many of them have drawn negative attention due to their practices. Earlier, speculations had risen in Arizona regarding mobile dental facilities citing that they had carried out dental procedures in schools without obtaining permits from parents, with an underlying agenda of collecting more revenues.
These dental facilities have come under the scrutiny of legislative bodies, and while some face a ban, others continue to operate unmonitored. This clearly explains why some states have placed a ban on mobile dentistry while others have enforced strict regulations to allow smooth functioning of the same.