Thousands of children in our area suffer from a lack of access to dental care that affects their health, speech, school attendance, and even their self-confidence. Ronald McDonald House Charities and The Tooth Truck, Inc. are addressing this need with the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, fondly known as the “Tooth Truck.” Since its debut in July 2002, over 27,400 children have been treated through more than 59,900 dental appointments valued at over $18.5 million. The philosophy of The Tooth Truck is to complete each child’s treatment plan so every patient has a healthy smile.
The Tooth Truck operates Monday through Friday, all year-round, visiting sites such as Great Circle, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Salvation Army when schools are not in session. There is no charge for services provided by the Tooth Truck as we operate entirely with donations from our community and Missouri Medicaid reimbursements.
Why the need is so great.
- Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. 1
- 52% of six- to eight-year-olds already have tooth decay. 2
- 71% of Missouri dentists do not accept Medicaid patients because the reimbursement rate for their service is so low.
- Almost 80% of tooth decay in poor children is untreated. 3
Even though The Tooth Truck is a mobile office just over 200 square feet in size, it still has the ability to provide a full range of dental services, including x-rays, cleanings and sealants, root canals, fillings and more. This state of the art mobile dental office features two complete operatories. The unit features self-contained water systems and is completely heated and air conditioned to operate in any season. Any treatment that does not require complete sedation may be performed on the Tooth Truck.
The Tooth Truck is staffed by a great group of Dentists, Dental Assistants, and Volunteers who ensure that each child has a positive, happy experience while onboard. Not only do we strive to provide healthy smiles for local children in need, we also educate them on the importance of good oral hygiene and how to properly brush and floss to ensure their new, healthy smiles last forever.
- Fluoride Use in Caries Prevention in the Primary Care Setting: A Report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, August 2014
- Oral Health Initiative: Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Oral Health Care Availability and Access: A Crisis for Missouri’s Children
Statistics as of December 2020
|Number of Children Treated||27,403|
|Number of Appointments Provided||59,917|
|Average Number of Appointments Per Child||2.19|
|Value of Dental Treatment||$18,577,198|