Oklahoma Group Offering Free Mobile Dental Care Receives $500,000 Grant For New Unit

Tuesday, June 1st 2021, 7:12 pm

The Oklahoma Dental Foundation established a mobile care program back in 2006, and 15 years later they're still racking up the miles with a smile.

"It's just an amazing opportunity to meet so many different people of so many different backgrounds that unfortunately don't have access to care," said Dr. Daryn Lu, a Mobile Smiles Oklahoma dentist.

That's where Mobile Smiles Oklahoma comes in. The nonprofit helps roughly 2,000 patients a year with free dental care.

"The ability to just travel to the patients to specific communities and provide them those services, it's something truly unique to what we have," said Lu.

Now thanks to a big $500,000 check from the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Foundation, the nonprofit will be able to provide more checkups.

The Mobile Smiles unit is getting a little long in the tooth, travelling the unforgiving Oklahoma roads from Guymon to Tulsa and everywhere in between.

The $500,000 grant will provide a brand-new unit for the nonprofit.

"I think it's critical timing because it became not uncommon for the mobile unit to have to be in the shop, and that definitely impacts its ability to serve the state," said Terrisa Singleton, the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Foundation director. 

The timing also critical with so many people delaying dentist appointments during the pandemic.

"The mobile unit I think is definitely going to have a backlog to catch up with for a while," Singleton said. "There's always a need out there, and we just do our best to reach everybody we can."

The $500,000 grant will also cover operational costs for the whole year.