Visit to Aspen Dental's MouthMobile in Philly
Posted September 9, 2016 by Matt Mabe
On Wednesday, Sept. 7, I had the honor of observing first hand the tremendous work that Aspen Dental is doing to serve veterans. For the third year running, Aspen Dental is deploying its MouthMobile — a fully-equipped dental office on wheels — in communities across America to provide free checkups, cleanings, and, when necessary, more serious dental work to veterans without access to adequate care. On the day I visited, the MouthMobile truck was deployed outside the Veterans Multi-Service Center in east Philadelphia, not far from where I live.
MouthMobile is an impressive, self-contained dental practice with two patient rooms, a check in desk, an X-ray lab, and even a wheelchair lift. This hi-tech truck is capable of servicing more than two dozen veterans a day and once provided care to a record 39 patients at a stop. The whole system is operated by Tennessee-native Emily Boyd, who spends months each year traveling with the truck and coordinating provisions of care with local veterans organizations. I got the impression that Emily, her colleagues, and the volunteers they assemble at each stop consider this work to be a calling. And the results prove it.
On the morning I showed up, volunteer dentists and hygienists, who had driven in from around the region, were already hard at work. Some had come as far as 50 miles to provide their services for free. Dr. Mehda Patel, a recent dental school graduate, took a day off from her practices in Pottsville and Quakertown, Pa., to help out. Dr. Shekhar Gupta, who owns 13 clinics in an area north of Philly, was also on site to take part. I didn’t have to ask them how they felt about this opportunity. Their smiles said it all.
When Emily gave me a tour of the facility, there were already two veterans seated in chairs, drills abuzz, with at least five more vets waiting in the queue. But this was not your ordinary dental experience. Like any service project, there was an atmosphere of generosity, excitement, light-heartedness, and gratitude. But most of all, one could sense a genuine connection between the civilian caregivers and their veteran patients. (For veterans whose appointments require follow-up care, volunteer dentists may “adopt a veteran” to complete those services for free in their home practices.)
Got Your 6 and other veteran organizations talk a lot about ways that communities and companies can work to bridge the civilian military divide. With the deployment of the Healthy Mouth Mobile and its other efforts, Aspen Dental has proven itself to be a leader in answering that call.
I urge you to read more about Aspen Dental’s work in support of veterans and to follow the Healthy Mouth Mobile as it continues its 2016 tour. Also, for you racing fans, Aspen Dental is honoring 1,000 veterans and their guests with a VIP NASCAR race experience at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in October. Sign up for free tickets here!
Matt Mabe is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the Senior Director of Impact at Got Your 6.