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Mobile Dentist Office Helps Northlanders in Need

Updated: 02/28/2014 6:15 PM
Created: 02/28/2014 3:33 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

The buzz of a dentist's drill might make you squirm, but it can be music to the ears of Northlanders without insurance. Patients in need got some help from a unique office on wheels on Friday at the Duluth Salvation Army.

The Minnesota Mobile Dental RV was a little cramped but had all the amenities of her normal office according to dental assistant Nikki Klint.

“It's different definitely, but they have everything that we need. It's great, you know, everything is packed into this little bus. It's kind of cool,” Klint said.

It was her first time in the mobile office for her and dentist Camille Zelen. The local duo volunteered to help patients in need and Zelen said the Salvation Army made it easy.

“It feels great. I'm really glad I'm able to do this because, like I said, in private practice you want to do that, but logistically it gets difficult because it's harder to go out and figure out who would benefit the most or who are the people in need,” Zelen said.

The mobile office stops in Duluth once a month, and dentist Michael Bussa said they can help with basic care.

“We can get them out of pain, we can fix a broken tooth, and we can clean their teeth and tell them what they need to have done and go from there,” Bussa said.

That was something the patients were thankful for.

“I think the patients seem just very appreciative and really happy to be here,” Zelen said.

The bus has been coming to Duluth for about a year, but the dentists and assistants want to pick up more patients.

“I'd like to make sure this program...is established in the community and that people know that it's here, that they know they can get here because we still have openings every clinic,” Bussa said.

He and Zelen are calling on other local dentists to volunteer and patients in need to contact the Salvation Army.

“Now that we have this and we know it's here we just need to spread the word and get it out there,” Zelen said.

To receive care patients need to meet some requirements set up by the Salvation Army. Anyone wanting an appointment should call the Duluth Salvation Army at 218-722-7934.

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