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Elks mobile unit offering free dental care this week

November 10, 2021 at 5:25 a.m. | Updated November 10, 2021 at 3:40 p.m.
In this September 2016 photo, representatives of Missouri Elks Clubs are in Jefferson City for their annual convention, and they are showing off their new mobile dental unit. Dr. Robert Beck, left, operates this portable dental practice five days a week where he and two dental assistants typically work on about 25 patients a week. At right is Brian Crawford, director of Missouri Elks Benevolent Trust, which provides funding for this and another dental unit in Missouri.

Elks Lodges are improving smiles for people with developmental disabilities in Central Missouri.

The Elks Mobile Dental Unit began offering free dental care for qualified clients Monday at the Jefferson City Elks Lodge 513 at 901 Ellis Blvd.

Elks have reached out to sheltered workshops, such as Capital Projects in Jefferson City and Gateway Industries in Eldon, and informed them of the unit's availability, said Cindy Smith, a dental assistant on the vehicle.

Smith has been setting up appointments for this week. She can be reached at 573-690-6003. Appointments are available Monday through Thursday. Hours depend on services needed.

Staff offer cleanings, X-rays, fillings and selective extractions in the mobile treatment room. The vehicle includes a wheelchair lift, which makes it accessible.

In addition to people with developmental disabilities, Elks will accept clients who are in extreme financial distress who have found it impossible to receive dental care anywhere else. These individuals should be given a letter of referral from the lodge.

Individuals who are to receive treatment will be screened for eligibility and ability to receive treatment in a mobile clinic with the aid of local anesthesia, when needed.

Elks mobile units have served more than 100,000 clients since 1962.

This special unit is a self- propelled bus-like vehicle equipped to provide a full range of dental services, such as X-rays, fillings, extractions, cleanings and other treatments.

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