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Mobile dental unit offering free dental care

by Anakin Bush | March 15, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

The Elks Mobile Dental Unit will be in Columbia beginning next Monday, offering free dental care to eligible Callaway County residents.

The unit will be at the Columbia Elks Lodge #594 (4747 East Elks Park Drive) from Monday, March 20-Thursday, March 23.

This program aims to "bring primary care dental services to developmentally disabled children and adults throughout the State of Missouri," a release states.

Since the program began in 1962, over 100,000 residents have received free dental care.

The mobile dental unit is a vehicle that can provide a full range of dental services, including X-rays, cleanings and fillings. It is staffed by a trained dentist and dental assistant.

All services are provided at no cost to those who qualify.

Callaway County is one of several counties eligible to receive free dental care. Other counties include Audrain, Boone, Cooper and Howard.

To qualify for the free dental care, participants must fulfill one of two criteria. The first criteria is the patient is a child or adult with a developmental disability or intellectual disability as identified by the Department of Mental Health Division of Developmental Disabilities, a release states.

The second criteria is for those in "extreme financial distress" who have not been able to receive dental care elsewhere. These patients must be referred through an Exalted Ruler or the Benevolent Trust Chairman of the Lodge. A limited number of appointments are available.

All individuals will be screened for their eligibility with the unit, as well as their ability to receive treatment in a mobile clinic.

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