Millions of people worldwide lack proper dental care. In developing nations and in impoverished communities, dentistry is often seen as a luxury. As a result, adequate dental treatment facilities and trained personnel are greatly limited, leaving those in need of urgent dental treatment without access to care.
Engineering Smiles, and our provider partner IMAHelps, aims to alleviate the pain and suffering in developing populations by providing a fully stocked Mobile Dental Clinic for use by multiple groups and organizations.
This Mobile Dental Clinic will provide improved working conditions and necessary equipment for the dental volunteers, allowing them to see more patients and provide more care. The mobile dental clinic will begin its mission serving the Native American tribes in southern California, at the conclusion of this trip, the clinic will be delivered to Nicaragua where it will circulate throughout Central and South America serving communities in need. When not in use in the field for dental missions, the clinic will be stationed and secured at the Universidad Católica de Nicaragua (UNICA) where it will function as a teaching aide to train the next generation of dental professionals. The total financial impact of this single dental clinic is estimated to top $95,000 annually. The Mobile Dental Clinic will be delivered in the summer of 2017.
Dental care is often considered a luxury in underserved populations and countries, such as Nicaragua. This lack of dental care leads to potentially fatal diseases as well as social injustices for those with no teeth, disfigured smiles, or poor oral hygiene. When a person loses their permanent teeth, particularly as children, it affects not only their self-esteem but also their ability to obtain employment in the future.
Engineering Smiles, through its partnership with IMAHelps, aims to alleviate these deficits. Currently, IMAHelps is providing dental care in closets and hallways with limited tools, lighting or sterilization. With the delivery of the Mobile Dental Clinic, IMAHelps can greatly increase their patient count. The IMAHelps Board estimates the annual financial impact, from increased mission activity alone, at over $45,000.
IMAHelps has created a highly effective procedure for working with the Nicaraguan government, and they have agreed to provide all necessary costs that arise through shipping, taxes and customs fees. Since 2000, this proven system has delivered 50 foot shipping containers with necessary dental supplies to dental missions in host cities throughout the countryside.
After the conclusion of each dental mission taking place in Central or South America, the trailer will be stored, secured, and maintained at University Católica de Nicaragua (UNICA). It will be used by the university to train the next generation of dental professionals and will also be used by the dental students to provide local humanitarian outreach in support of the townspeople in need. This partnership will ensure the sustainability and longevity of the unit, and will provide approximately $50,000 of additional dental services on an annual basis.
The Engineering Smiles project commenced in fall of 2013. After one of the Group’s members attended a dental outreach mission and saw the need firsthand, revisions of construction documents were completed in April of 2016. Engineering Smiles has been working with Becker Custom Trailers to provide a workspace that can handle a high volume of patients. This low cost, modular space is dual purposed as it can be used to provide aid directly, but can also be used as a teaching space. This unique design, adds tremendous value to the Mobile Dental Clinic. Equipment lists are being finalized. Fundraising is underway. To date, the team has been featured in the ADA News, USAToday, Arizona Republic, Engineering for Change, Arizona Stem Network, Christian Science Monitor, and various other publications and blogs.
Program Progress Reports and Program Conclusion:
Program progress and results will be meticulously documented through detailed notes and pictures throughout the program development, construction and delivery of the Mobile Dental Clinic.
At the conclusion of the Engineering Smiles Program with the delivery of the completed Mobile Dental Clinic, IMAHelps will own and maintain the unit. On site personnel includes:
- Ines Allen, President/Founder IMAHelps
- Dr. Antonio Gonzales, Dentist
- Carolina Vasconcelos, Dental Coordinator
Estimated Budget- Grouped Expenditures:
- $50,000 Mobile Dental Clinic Custom Trailer Frame
- $23,600 Dental Equipment
- $3,200 Trailer Shipping
- $4,700 Interior Fixtures
- $1,500 Overages
Feel free to contact any of the Engineering Smiles team members! Contact information is listed on the team page, here!