Mobile Clinics

The mobile clinic is used primarily when oral health care is to be delivered to small pockets of patients that are scattered over a specific geographic area. The mobile clinic generally is parked at a facilility such as a school, residential facility or community center.

Mobile clinics can be either:

  1. a self-contained motorized van driven by clinic staff or a hired driver to different locations
  2. a trailer that is hauled or towed by a truck to a location

Although the initial cost is not as much as a fixed facility, maintenance costs are higher. This is especially true for a motorized van due to maintenance of the drive train. Useful life is shorter than a fixed facility. Both units require utility, water and sewage connections at each location where used. In cold weather, precautions must be taken to prevent freezing of the water lines.

A van or trailer may consist of one or more operatories, depending on the size. Equipment can be traditional dental equipment found in a fixed clinic facility or portable equipment. The use of portable equipment can allow for multiple program uses of the van (e.g., dental care and immunization clinics).

Vans and trailers provide climate control for a comfortable work environment. Most offer utility service attachments which allow on-site hookup. Additional considerations may be:

  • Generator on board to provide electricity
  • Telephone/computer hookup
  • Wheelchair lift

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