The Delta Dental Mobile Program provides oral healthcare
to children who don't have access to dental care. The
program includes two mobile dental clinic trucks that
travel the state and dental hygienists and community
health workers based on the state's American Indian
The Mobile Program serves approximately 5,000 kids across
South Dakota every year. Care provided through the Mobile
Program is at no cost to the child or family.
Mobile clinic trucks
The Mobile Program began in 2004, and its mobile dental
clinic trucks have visited 86 communities across South
Dakota, treating more than 51,500 patients and providing
over $31 million in dental care.
The current trucks – Molar 1 and Molar 2 – are each 40
feet long and contain two dental operatories for
preventive, diagnostic, and restorative care.
Delta Dental of South Dakota operates and staffs the
trucks with a dentist, hygienist, two dental assistants,
and a coordinator. Local community agencies host a truck
visit, providing the location, promoting the clinic, and
recruiting and registering patients.
It costs approximately $26,000 per week to operate each
truck. Local sponsors contribute a modest stipend,
generally $3,000 per week, for the clinic visit.
Children eligible for care are those up to age 21 who
have not seen a dentist within the past two years or who
live more than 85 miles from a dentist.
The mobile clinic trucks serve a total of approximately
3,000 kids every year, and each truck travels an average
of 42 weeks every year across the state.
Community-based care on American Indian reservations
The Mobile Program also includes dental hygienists and
community health workers in communities on South Dakota's
American Indian reservations who provide oral health
education, preventive care clinics, and support to access
urgent dental care.
This facet of the Mobile Program began in 2013 and has
provided over $7 million in preventive care to more than
Mobile Program staff work with local schools and Head
Start programs to host preventive care clinics for kids
in grades K-8. Staff use portable equipment in a spare
room at each location to provide oral health screening,
cleanings, fluoride varnish treatments, and dental
The program began with a
2012-2015 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Health
Care Innovation Awards grant.