Mobile dentist office stopping at schools through Carteret County

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NEWPORT, N.C. (WITN) - Summer is rapidly coming to an end and with that, parents are hurrying to get everything done on their back to school to do list, which often includes getting new clothes, school supplies, and making doctors appointments.

A local health department is hoping to make it easier to get one doctor appointment done.

The Miles of Smiles Mobile Dental Unit came to Newport, in Carteret County, and it is parked outside of Newport Elementary School.

Inside of that trailer is a full service dental office and their goal is to help give better access to dental care for children.

The unit travels around the county and is for any child ages 0 to 20 years old who are enrolled in Health Choice or NC-Medicaid.

The Miles of Smiles Mobile Dental Unit is designed to help kids and their parents get access to dental care who might not otherwise have the opportunity.

Since they are set up at schools, parents don't have to take off of work and the kids don't have to miss very much of their school day.

Staff will go in and get the students out who's parents have signed them up.​

It also provides dental care for pregnant women who are on Medicaid.

"There are very few dentists who are taking Medicaid and it's very difficult for children to get into a dentist, so we are swamped right now, the other thing is we are seeing pregnant women on Medicaid that normally can't get into a dentist," says Dr. Stephen Smith, a public health dentist.

The staff at the mobile unit also takes part in community education about dental care and making sure parents know how to best care for their children's teeth, like not allowing too much juice and the proper way to brush your teeth.

Those interested in signing their children up for a dental appointment can do so through the county health department.

The unit will be set up in Newport until Friday and then they will head to Smyrna Elementary School.

They also set up at the different schools throughout the school year, if you can't make it in before classes start.

Several other counties in Eastern Carolina also have mobile dental units. To find out if yours does, you can contact your county's health department.