Fri. May 20th, 2022
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The Friendly Dental Van has resumed treating students at Bertie High School as we move into the endemic stage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bertie News spotted the van today and wanted to know more. After snapping a few pictures, we called and spoke with Dr. Darryl Smith, the Program Administrator in their main office, about their offerings.

The Friendly Dental Van previously treated students in the Bertie Public Schools. However, the program screeched to a halt when the schools shifted to a remote learning environment in 2020. Dr. Smith noted that while the schools have a different provider in the other schools within the district, they recently reached back out for assistance in servicing the dental needs of students at Bertie High School.

What Is the Friendly Dental Van?

The Friendly Dental Van provides mobile dental services to children across North Carolina. Founded in 2002 by Dr. Gregory Abrams, a Charlotte dentist, they have provided treatment exclusively in North Carolina for twenty years.

Their goal is to provide dental service to children who otherwise would not have these needs met. Services they provide from the Friendly Dental Van include:

  • Exams
  • Teeth cleanings
  • Fluoride treatment
  • X-rays
  • Sealants
  • Cavity repairs if needed

They proudly explain that some mobile services cannot fix cavities, only detect them–this sets FDV apart from other similar services.

They work with school systems to serve children from kindergarten through high school, contributing to each child’s overall well-being. The program does not cost the partnering school system because they accept regular insurance, Medicaid, cash (for self-pay patients), and North Carolina Health Choice.

How the FDV Treatment Process Works

The parents request care and complete the sign-up forms, returning them to the school. The FDV courier picks up the completed forms from the school and schedules an appointment day with a representative from the school. FDV also handles the insurance verification before treating the patients–just like in a physical dental office.

The Friendly Dental Van sets up in the school parking lot on the appointment day. A staff member will escort the students in small groups of three to four at a time to the van for dental care, then walk them back after treating them. They repeat this process until they treat all patients for the day.

The mobile clinic operates with its own power and water and under the same medical protocols as a brick-and-mortar dental office.

The service only treats school children, service is not available for adults in the community.

Living in a rural area with an utter lack of dental care challenges many Bertie County parents. Fortunately, programs like the Friendly Dental Van play a vital role in ensuring that children access oral health care.

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