The Smilemobile program achieves its goals through a well-organized, highly efficient operation. After identifying the areas of greatest need, each of the three Smilemobiles are towed to a location, where they remain for six to eight weeks, depending upon the number of children participating and their treatment needs. Each unit visits five schools during the calendar year for a total of 15 school sites. To provide continuity of care, the same schools are visited on an annual basis. In addition, eight Head Start programs refer their children to the program throughout the year. In the summer, the program partners with outlying rural health departments, providing care to low-income children in those areas.
All three units are trailer-type models, ranging in size from 35 to 48 feet in length, with two to three dental operatories in each. There is a contract with a towing service to transport the units to each location. Because the units are not self-propelled, they remain at the host location for the duration of treatment, which usually comprises 6 to 8 weeks. Trailer models have been highly effective in keeping maintenance and staffing costs down. Furthermore, these models have stood the test of time. The original unit, purchased in 1967, is still operational.