CARDWELL, MO (KAIT) - Southeast Missouri State University and the SEMO Health Network have partnered to bring medical care to rural areas in the Missouri Bootheel.
The S.H.O.W. Mobile, a 38-foot mobile health center, is equipped for a medical staff to provide full-scale dental services, such as comprehensive examinations, bitewing X-rays, fillings, extractions and pulpotomies.
Eight-year-old Jacob Bailey is one of several children in southeast Missouri the SEMO Health Network dental staff will examine on the S.H.O.W. mobile. "If they forget to brush their teeth, the dentist will make them healthy," Jacob said.
S.H.OW. Mobile supervisor Kelly Golightly said the program will first focus on providing dental care to children in the Bootheel because southeast Missouri there is shortage of dental health professionals in the area.
"In a lot of the small communities they lack access to dental care. In a lot of the small towns they don't even have a dentist, especially with the price of gasoline increasing. It's an extreme disadvantage for them to have to drive to larger communities to receive the dental care that's needed," said Dr. Gail Redman.
Jacob's mom Tonya is thankful for the convenience of the service. Students can go to their appointments on campus. "A lot of parents work, and they don't have the time to take off and take their kids to the dentist, and this is right here at the school."
She said the 38-foot trailer showed up on the Southland C-9 School District campus just in time. "His two fillings, they were loose and they were pussing. They were infected."
For the next few months the S.H.O.W. Mobile staff will mainly provide dental care to children in areas with the least access to it. The coverage area includes Dunklin, Pemiscot, New Madrid, Scott, Stoddard and Mississippi (MO) counties.
Dr. Redman said parents who are concerned about payments should come anyway. "We also have a sliding fee program, and that's based on income."
The program will eventually offer screenings, vaccines and education for various medical conditions, such as tuberculosis, HIV, and tetanus.
Click here to find out where the S.H.O.W. Mobile will be located next.