Getting to the dentist can be a chore for many and is actually unfeasible for others. Some, like the elderly or disabled, may not be able to commute easily, there are those who have anxieties when it comes to dental work or people who may struggle with the financial costs associated with routine care.
Mobile dental clinics allow a dentist or practitioner to bring care and equipment to their patients. In a mobile clinic, you are able to perform nearly all of the same treatments as in a traditional dental office, and they can also be extremely helpful in a last-minute or emergency situation.
However, while a mobile clinic can provide routine dental care such as exams, cleanings, x-rays, and fillings, more complicated dental procedures such as root canals and dental surgery should typically be scheduled in a traditional office.
Let’s look at how mobile dentistry may benefit your practice by controlling overhead costs, keeping your clinic competitive, and making you and your patients smile bright.
1. Lower Costs to Practitioners and Patients
Starting a mobile clinic costs much less than opening a brick-and-mortar dental office. This is a great option for practitioners just starting out, or those with a traditional office who are looking at opportunities for expansion.
Operating costs will be lower for a medical vehicle as well. The costs involved in keeping a mobile clinic running can be much more efficient than in maintaining a large static office.
The financial burdens lifted by a mobile clinic not only apply to the dentist but to the patients as well. Mobile dentistry helps alleviate financial struggles for a community. Having a clinic come to the people cuts down on commute time and expenses. In addition, with lower operating costs, a practitioner can often pass along savings to the patients. For example, many mobile dentists provide sliding-scale pricing, which may open the door to dental care for those who are under or uninsured. This brings us to:
2. Serving Disadvantaged Community Members
Mobile clinics can reach a lot of people that traditional static clinics may not. They have proven to be very successful in both rural and urban communities. The benefits extend not only to improving the dental health of the population served but to providing a sense of support and comfort. For some individuals, dentistry can be seen as elitist medical care, with so many not having dental coverage as part of their health insurance. Bringing dental clinics to the community helps to break that elitist gap to provide for those who wouldn’t otherwise receive dental care.
It is important for dental health to begin in childhood as dental care affects whole-body health. However, it is too often the last priority for lower-income families. The flexibility that comes from running a mobile dental clinic may allow for visits near schools and for weekend or after-hours appointments that better fit with busy parent schedules.
With elderly or disabled populations, reaching a dental office may be the biggest barrier. There’s a higher possibility for those in this demographic to be non-ambulatory or unable to travel. By addressing the needs of the community, dentists can help alleviate health problems while also growing their dental practices and increasing revenue.
3. Providing Flexibility
Dentists who run mobile clinics tend to have more schedule flexibility than those who work in traditional offices. A practitioner will be able to set their own hours based on their own convenience as well as the needs of the community.
There is also flexibility to be found in expanding patient reach. Having a set static location will only attract those in the immediate vicinity, whereas being mobile can increase your patient base. A mobile clinic provides its own marketing, being a moving billboard advertisement, which increases the recognition of your practice within the community.
Mobile Over Traditional Clinics
While there will also be a need for traditional brick-and-mortar clinics, especially when it comes to more extensive dental care such as surgery, mobile dental vehicles are sufficient for most patients’ needs. When it comes to lowering overhead costs, serving the community, and providing flexibility to the practitioners as well as the patient base, a mobile clinic really has a lot to offer and may be right for your practice.