The dentist's chair will be getting a lot closer for Anne Arundel schoolchildren and seniors now that the Anne Arundel County Department of Health has teamed up with the Rotary Club to launch the Tooth Mobile, a dental office on wheels.
The Tooth Mobile, a van that transports essential dentist office equipment - chair, X-ray machine and instruments - brings oral exams, tooth cleanings and oral hygiene education to schools and senior centers around the county.
Elien Jones, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, said the department was concerned with the number of low- and middle-income students who were not receiving dental care. Fifteen percent to 20 percent of low-income children who use Medicaid receive regular dental care, according to Anne Arundel County Health Officer Frances B. Phillips.
A significant number of children from middle-income families also fail to see the dentist on a regular basis, according to the Health Department. Factors include rising dental plan premiums and large out-of-pocket expenses.
The Tooth Mobile "really helps children who don't have dental insurance," said Jones.