Why does Oklahoma need a mobile dental care program? Because obstacles stand in the way of some Oklahomans getting the dental care they need. Our program is uniquely equipped to eliminate many of those barriers to care.
Examples of Barriers to Dental Care Access:
Some barriers to dental care are obvious, but there are many others you may not know about.
- Cost is a barrier to care for many who are uninsured, unemployed or on low or fixed incomes.
- Approximately one-half of Oklahomans don't have dental benefits.
- Sometimes low-income, employed individuals can't access even free dental clinics because they can't afford to take time off.
- 56 Oklahoma counties are designated as Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas regarding the availability of SoonerCare dentists in relation to the demand for SoonerCare services.
- 12 counties have no SoonerCare dentists.
- 3 counties have no dentists at all.
- In some rural areas, Oklahomans must travel more than an hour each way to access dental care.
- Transportation can be a barrier to dental care even in urban areas where free and reduced-fee dental clinics are available.
- Children are dependent on parents/guardians for access to dental care. Even when children are eligible for SoonerCare, sometimes their parents/guardians can't access this care due to the reasons listed above.
- Some people just aren't aware of how important preventive dental care is for themselves and for their children.
MobileSmiles Oklahoma was created to address these barriers and provide a vehicle to overcome them. With the help of hundreds of volunteer dental professionals, we have delivered dental services and education to thousands of Oklahomans since 2006.