Students at Rochester Institute of Technology will now have the option of on-campus dental care as the SMILEmobile from the Eastman Institute for Oral Health will visit its first college campus on Oct. 5.
It will be one of several scheduled stops on the RIT campus this year. Although a variety of care is available—from x-rays and exams, cleanings, fillings, extractions and dentures—the service is targeting students with special needs or those who have had trouble accessing care.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the SMILEmobile to provide oral health care where students can take advantage of the convenience for routine dental visits or emergency concerns to relieve any dental pain, which likely interferes with their studies,” said Megan Jaros, manager of case management for RIT Wellness.
The SMILEmobile typically travels to rural and urban areas where residents don’t have easy access to dental care. SMILEmobiles are wheelchair-accessible and staffed with dentists and dental hygienists who can handle a variety of procedures.
The custom-built unit has three dental chairs, in addition to a wheelchair lift offering flexibility for optimum care for patients in wheelchairs or who have physical disabilities.
Providing dental services to RIT students is the result of a unique collaboration between Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, RIT and UR Medicine’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health.
“This collaboration demonstrates our mutual desire for a healthy community using an innovative approach,” said Dr. Eli Eliav, director of Eastman Institute for Oral Health.
In upstate New York, about half of adults ages 18 to 24 have not visited the dentist in the last year, according to an Excellus BCBS analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 15 percent of 18 to 24 year olds have also had at least one tooth removed because of tooth decay or gum disease, according to the data.
“College is a busy time for students, and many miss their dental appointments,” said Dr. Neal Levitt, a dentist and consultant with Excellus BCBS. “But dental health is linked to overall health, and patients of all ages should see a dentist regularly.”
The SMILEmobile will make its first visit to the RIT campus from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 5 in the RITz parking lot, directly south of the Student Alumni Union and north of the Gene Polisseni Center. Students should have dental insurance, pay for the services received, or sign up for a student dental plan. Excellus BCBS personnel will attend as well to assist students if needed.
For more information or to make an appointment, call 585-475-3963.