Mobile dentistry for seniors is a modern trend that can help a dental practice to remain competitive and also benefit the elderly in the community, especially those who reside in nursing homes.
What is mobile dentistry – and how you can dentists benefit from it?
What is mobile dentistry?
Mobile dentistry is a dental practice of providing on-site dental services, usually in a mobile clinic, rather than having the patients come to your brick-and-mortar office.
Mobile dentists operate moving dental clinics. They are manufactured similar to brick-and-mortar class A RVs or trucks, but with dental equipment and a small exam room within. Although mobile clinics have limited space, you will find almost everything needed for basic dentistry services including sterilization equipment, x-ray equipment, computers to schedule appointments and insurance claims, and all of the dental instruments and other supplies required to carry out general dentistry.
Mobile dental services generally offer routine care such as dental x-rays, initial exams, oral disease screening, fillings and dental sealants. Mobile dental units usually aren’t equipped to provide more in-depth services (including cosmetic restorations, root canals, and dental surgery).
As well as benefiting patients and their carers enormously, there are some distinct advantages for providers of mobile dentistry.
- Diversify streams of income
Offering mobile services offers a dental practice an additional revenue stream. Dentists could potentially even operate their practice solely within the mobile dental clinic while they renovate their space.
- Expand the dental practice
With a mobile dental clinic, dentists can expand their dental practice, by being able to serve wider groups of patients the practice had been unable to reach in the past. Dentists who open mobile clinics may find that their new appointments start to exceed recalls quickly after opening their mobile unit.
Lower startup costs
Starting a mobile dental practice is cheaper than starting a static clinic. Dental economics reports show that a mobile clinic and necessary dental equipment can cost significantly lower initial investment. However, the expenses of opening a dental clinic can reach enormous levels. For most new dentists, mobile dentistry gives them an easier path to operating their own dental clinic.
Access to dental care for infirm or disadvantaged people
Although dental care is important to whole-body health, it is often the last thing on the agenda for low-income families, people living with mobility issues, and the elderly or infirm. A lot of people also don’t pay for dental insurance as they consider it to be optional.
Mobile dentistry helps to break this barrier and offers elderly, infirm, or disadvantaged people an opportunity to access proper dental care. Mobile dentistry can provide on-site services anywhere, and some may even operate on weekends or after-hours.
Mobile dentistry for seniors gives dentists and patients more flexibility in their schedules compared with office-based clinics. Services can be offered during hours that are convenient for both parties.
Written by Astrid Hunt, Staff Writer at WHIA