“Consider others more than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves.” Philippians 2:4 CEV
The mission of the Baptist Mobile Dental Ministry is to help provide caring dental service and a Christian witness to Florida’s needy.
- Caring for dental needs
- Ministering to those in need
- Offering a Christian witness
- Sharing Jesus through personal evangelism
- Meeting physical needs:
The Mobile Dental Unit is driven to and from every location by our Licensed Transportation/Maintenance Coordinators. They also prepare the unit for operation at each location. Our Project Coordinator Teams, representing four regions in the state, have full knowledge of the everyday operation and equipment of the unit. Local churches and associations work hand-in-hand to sponsor the free services in their areas.
A Florida Baptist Association or church may reserve the dental unit for its community. This sponsor is responsible for establishing a local project planning team to find locations, patients and volunteer staff, as well as plan for an evangelistic ministry in tandem with dental ministry. Each year the bus offers approximately 40 weeks of dental care, crisscrossing the state to meet needs. During a three-year span, more than 250 professions of faiths were made as a result of this ministry.
Funding is provided by the Florida Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board for daily operation. The bus was purchased and built through donations to the Maguire State Mission Offering.
If you are a Florida licensed dentist or dental assistant, we invite you to come partner with us.
Dentists across the state are telling their colleagues and others about their rewarding experiences while working with the Florida Baptist Convention’s Mobile Dental Clinic: “It is a joy for me to work in your mobile dental clinic. It helps me to deeply appreciate all the good things that so many of us have and that we need to help, love and support those in our community who are in need,” said one Ebro dentist. “I heartily applaud your ministry through the mobile dental clinic,” said a dentist from Gainesville. “It was an honor and a privilege to be given the opportunity to provide dental care to those in need. The hard work of set up and organization was accomplished through the efforts of others. Ours was the easy part, made even more enjoyable by the hospitality of the host church.”
The Florida Baptist Convention Mobile Dental Unit, built in the year 1998, travels across Florida providing free dental care for patients in need. The unit is a continuation of a mobile ministry that has provided free dental care for under-served Floridians since 1973. Thousands of underprivileged patients, at or below the 150 percent poverty level, have received free dental care through this ministry. Yet the ministry of the unit would not be accomplished without the services of dedicated dentists who volunteer their time to help those in need.
Project: Dentists Care
The Florida Baptist Convention mobile unit is one of the “Project Dentists Care Affiliates”, associated with the Florida Dental Association that helps access dental care for low income Florida residents. Dentists who volunteer may receive up to a maximum of five hours of required continuing education credit, calculated at one continuing education credit per one hour of patient services. Dentists usually volunteer for a three- or four-hour shift, either in the morning or afternoon. In some locations, such as in migrant areas, dentists work in the evenings when patients can come. Each dentist is asked to bring a dental assistant to help with procedures.
The Florida Baptist Convention and its local Baptist Associations cooperate with the Florida Department of Health in providing sovereign immunity for the dentists who work on the unit. This protects dentists and health care workers from lawsuits, since the state of Florida assumes responsibility for any liability. To receive this immunity, certain guidelines and processes must be followed as outlined by the Volunteer Health Care Provider Program. Most of these guidelines deal with the screening of patients, both for income and need. Only patients who fall at or below the 150 percent poverty level are treated on the unit. Each dentist is asked initially to complete a Practitioner Application and sign a form indicating that no fees are being collected.
Basic dentistry, such as fillings and tooth extractions, is performed on the unit. When more extensive work is needed, local dentists may volunteer to treat patients in their offices. Adults and children, six years and older, are examined and treated. The state-of-the-art mobile dental unit contains two treatment rooms, each equipped with x-ray equipment, fiber-optic hand pieces, supplies, and instruments needed for basic dentistry. Mobile dental coordinators are available to assist with sterilization and location of the instruments.
You Are Needed:
Dentists and dental assistants are needed to partner with the Florida Baptist Convention and the Mobile Dental Unit in providing dental care to those who cannot afford to see a dentist. This is one way that dentists can use their professional skills to give back to the community while improving the health of its citizens. Please volunteer to serve on the unit when it is in your area.
Share the Vision:
- Sponsor a dental project in your community.
- Support this ministry through prayer.
- Share your time and talents as a project volunteer.
- Spread the word about this exciting ministry.
- Give to the Cooperative Program.