Mobile Dental Clinics offer care to community’s youngest and most vulnerable

To address an urgent need for dental care among Napa and Sonoma counties’ youngest residents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Providence ministries expanded their mobile dental clinics to provide services, treatments and education to those who could not otherwise access dental care.

The Santa Rosa Memorial (SRM) Mobile Dental Clinic in Santa Rosa and the Queen Mobile Dental Clinic in Napa travel to high-need sites across Northern California to offer screenings and basic preventive care, to restorative dental services and oral health education.

When other dental clinics closed, the mobile clinics continued providing essential services to children, young adults, individuals with special needs, and pregnant mothers from low-income and vulnerable backgrounds.

“We know that dental decay is the single most common chronic disease among children that is completely preventable,” said Maryam Mohsenzadeh, DDS, senior manager of the dental program at Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa County. “Our clinics directly address this disparity in health and focus on interventions.”

The SRM Mobile Dental Clinic provides dental exams, X-rays, teeth cleaning, treatments and education to more than 4,500 low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients annually. It also provides screenings to more than 1,200 children at pre-k and elementary school sites throughout the region.

The same is true for the Queen Mobile Dental Clinic, which operates from the Queen of the Valley Medical Center’s parking lot. The mobile clinic also travels to high-need areas and local Head Start preschool sites to provide dental screenings each year for more than 300 children.

When a patient needs significant treatment, the clinics schedule follow-up appointments or make referrals to nearby dental offices and clinics.

“For many families in our communities, the mobile clinics are the only opportunity their children have to receive dental care and oral health education,” said Arturo Martinez, manager of the dental clinics at Providence Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Sonoma County.