Mobile Dental Clinics
Some people cannot get dental care because they cannot afford it or do not have coverage (Melko 2017). Other people, such as students and the elderly, may have no time for it or lack transportation (Melko 2017; Reese III 2009). Instead of them going to a clinic, mobile dental clinics can come to them to provide treatment (Melko 2017). These clinics can go to a variety of places, including schools, homeless shelters, senior centers, and more (Melko 2017). Private mobile dental clinics could benefit communities, while new dentists could still profit in this type of practice.
New dentists could earn a good amount of income in a private mobile clinic like a traditional clinic since they both operate similarly “in terms of business operations” (Reese III 2017b). Mobile dental clinics still must consider overhead, but “the direct costs are so much lower” (Reese III 2009). Some dentists, like graduates who need to pay off their student loans, usually go into “associateships with guaranteed incomes in large corporate practices,” but “these associates produce no patients for a future practice because contracts usually state that records of patients treated in the practice belong to that practice” (Kurtzman 2017; Reese III 2017b). However, Calman Kurtzman, “founder of the UCLA Mobile Dental Program,” states, “Statistics indicate that professional lifetime earnings increase the sooner dentists have their own practice” (2017). He suggests that, in addition to their responsibilities as part-time associates, new dentists could have their own mobile clinics because while they have to buy their own equipment, “[earnings] can be more than those of an associate, and the dentist is subliminally ‘advertising’ to potential patients when treating them in their residences. Also, dentists often refer special-needs individuals because of the challenges they present to the dentist, staff, and other patients in an office” (Kurtzman 2017). According to John E. Reese III, founder of Dental Access Carolina LLC, a financially successful mobile dental practice, Nathan Becker, “who graduated from dental school in 2015” and “had very little professional experience to compare to working with us [i.e. Dental Access Carolina LLC],” states that he was paid well as he treated patients on Medicaid (Reese III 2017a; 2017b). Additionally, Reese III says, “In the right circumstances, a tax-free federal student loan repayment of up to $25,000 per year is also available for providing care to low-income patients, further enhancing compensation” (Reese III 2017a). Albeit, new dentists have to consider that not only do they have to spend “more time and patience” with residential patients, but also “[travel] and consultation times reduce the number of daily patients” (Kurtzman 2017). Furthermore, they have to keep transporting equipment from place to place as well as maintain “clean and sterile” work spaces (Kurtzman 2017).
For new dentists, working in a mobile practice or even starting their own can be daunting, especially with their debt. However, they are able to earn a living with a mobile clinic while providing dental care to people unable to go to a traditional clinic.