The children in the most need of oral health care are the ones who are located in remote and rural areas of the United States. Here, the children do not have the benefit of fluoridated drinking water, are exposed to environmental pollutants that effect their teeth for the worse, and do not have access to dental care. If you would like to provide dentistry for children in these areas, but are not sure how to get the word out or find children who need care, here are some helpful suggestions to get you started.
Find the Underserved Areas to Which You Want to Provide Care
Since you can only practice dentistry in your own state (unless you get a license from a neighboring state), you may wish to contact your state's health department first. The state health department may have the data you need to determine where in your state kids need dental care the most. Most of them may require you to travel in order to provide services to these children, which effects how often you can provide free or reduced services to these children.
Devise a Plan for Times and Locations
Most dentists and dental hygienists who provide services to underserved children in remote and rural areas do so in their free time. You will need to devise a plan that will establish both dates and times to provide services, and then find the closest medical office in which you can work. Seek permission from these offices to set up temporary practices for care. Then prepare to get the word out to these locations.
Print Dozens of Flyers to Distribute
Printed flyers are the easiest method of communication for people in these areas. You can:
- Send the flyers home with children via the local schools
- Post them in public places where children and their parents visit, such as a grocery store or on telephone and electrical poles
- Request mailing addresses of everyone within a fifty-mile radius so that the flyers can be hand-delivered through the mail
- Keep extra flyers in your vehicle to distribute to people you meet in person
There is a greater chance of people in your target areas receiving word of your free/reduced cost care when you use flyers. Because some areas are so remote, a computer or other electronic communication device may not be available to to the families you are trying to reach. Flyers will keep it simple and spread the word that you are providing dental care at a specific time, date, and place for those who need it.
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