I recently attended the National Mobile & Teledentistry Conference for the first time.
I recently attended the National Mobile & Teledentistry Conference for the first time. While I was only there briefly, I interacted with some amazing dental hygiene colleagues who have taken the leap and spread their wings by providing mobile care. Their passion for what they do is unlike any I’ve seen in our profession. I’d like you to meet a few of them.
Sonya Dunbar, RDH, MHA, owns Mobile Dental Xpress in Georgia and Florida. She provides comprehensive dental care to residents who live in long-term care facilities. Dunbar has also developed an online program to train certified nursing assistants, the primary caregivers in long-term care facilities, on how to provide daily oral care and the importance of oral care.
MOST IMPORTANT, DON’T BE AFRAID OF SPREADING YOUR WINGS TO FLY
Dunbar understands the importance of educating the next generation, so she has been touring dental and dental hygiene schools around the country, giving free lectures on oral care for the aging mouth. You may also know her as “The Geriatric Tooth Fairy” on social media. When asked why she does all this, she states, “My assignment is to be the voice for those whose voice has become a whisper.”
Shelley Hart-Brown, MEd, BSDH, RDH, is the CEO of Homebound Smiles. She is based in Utah and works independently while collaborating with a dentist. Her practice involves seeing patients in homebound settings where she provides dental hygiene services.
When asked why she decided to practice this way, she stated, “I wanted autonomy over the care I provide for my patients. In short, I wanted to make the choices regarding the best therapies and products my patients need.” Hart-Brown often uses her electric cargo bike to provide care in an eco-friendly way if a patient is nearby.
Lancette VanGuilder, BS, RDH, PHEDE, is the founder/executive director of Community Dental Connections, a Nevada nonprofit that brings high-quality, cost-effective care to people who need it most. VanGuilder provides the full scope of dental hygiene services in a variety of settings such as home health, shelters, schools, and nursing homes. Her patients are thrilled with the care she provides. She is also the 2021 “Mover and Shaker” honoree for Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s “Six Dental Hygienists You Want to Know.”
These are just a few stories of our dental hygiene colleagues doing amazing work! If you want to join them in providing mobile care, first check your state’s practice acts to make sure you can provide such services (as an aside…even more reason to support the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and your state dental hygiene associations). The Accreditation Commission for Health Care also provides mobile dentistry accreditation.
Most important, don’t be afraid of spreading your wings to fly. That new horizon could open up opportunities beyond your wildest dreams!
The next National Mobile and Teledentistry Conference will be held in March of 2024. For more information, visit: nmdconference.com.
Jill Rethman, RDH, BA
Editor in Chief
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. April 2023; 21(4):6.