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McDonald’s offering dental services “to go” in North Dakota

Feb 06, 2012

Dental services to go may not be the first thing you think of when you think of McDonald's or carryout, but thanks to a unique private-public partnership in North Dakota rolling out this month, that may no longer be the case.

Beginning Feb 6, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a dentist’s office on wheels, will begin serving the needs of low-income children in rural and urban western North Dakota.

The self-contained mobile clinic will be able to provide dental exams, fillings, X-rays, extractions, regular cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants to needy children three out of every four weeks. The clinic on wheels will be staffed by a dentist, dental hygienist and assistant from Bridging the Dental Gap of Bismarck, a non-profit public health clinic.

To qualify, a person must be under the age of 22 and not have seen a dentist for at least two years. No child will be declined service because of an inability to pay, although attempts will be made to recover program expenses from insurance or Medicaid when appropriate.

The Bismarck Tribune reports 21 percent of the state’s children are in need of dental care and there are 7,100 children that meet the low-income guidelines for the service.

While Feb 6 marks the inaugural trip for the North Dakota mobile dental unit, plans for the roll-out have been long in the making. The North Dakota legislature appropriated $196,000 for start-up costs in 2009 and the North Dakota Dental Association, who regularly provide dental care to low income patients, has been actively involved in the development of the western North Dakota program.

To date the national Ronald McDonald House Charities serving children worldwide has built 44 such mobile clinics at a cost of $500,000 each. Every vehicle is 40-foot long, 8-foot wide and is built specifically for providing pediatric health care services.

Sources, Bismarck Tribune, Ronald McDonald House Charities

Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC ©

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