HANNIBAL – An oral health care collaboration between the Hannibal Central School District and the University at Buffalo was on full display Monday morning when UB’s mobile dental unit rolled into the community.
The state-of-the-art mobile dental unit set up shop outside Fairley Elementary School, where two UB dental students and faculty dentists performed a variety of procedures on dozens of Hannibal students.
With three dental chairs, high-tech diagnostic equipment, a patient waiting area and a panoramic X-ray facility, the UB School of Dentistry team expects to serve nearly 70 students during its week-long stay in Hannibal.
“This is such a tremendous opportunity for our students to access complete dental care,” said HCSD Superintendent Christopher Staats. “We are grateful to the University at Buffalo for providing this program and to State Sen. Patty Ritchie for her efforts bringing ‘S-miles to Go’ to our school community.”
Staats was joined by members of the HCSD’s administrative team, UB officials and Sen. Ritchie to tour the mobile dental unit upon its arrival.
As they examined the facility, the senator commented on the difficulties that children living in rural areas encounter when it comes to the availability of oral health care.
“(A lack of access to dental care) could mean more serious problems down the road, like speech difficulties, tooth loss and serious infections,” she said. “This program is not only helping to ensure they have access to the care they need, it is also strengthening health care in our region by showing dental students what it would be like to practice in rural New York state.”
Dr. Joseph J. Zambon, dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University at Buffalo, echoed Ritchie’s sentiments and noted that the collaboration is a teaching tool that benefits the patients and the dental students as well.
“Our hope is, this experience might motivate some to establish a practice in these underserved areas,” he said.