Over 100 people without dental insurance or the financial means to get their problems fixed – many of whom had been suffering for months from sore teeth in need of extraction – were helped last week when a Mobile Dental unit, staffed by two local dentists, parked at First Baptist Church from August 22-26.
“The bus was provided by the Florida Baptist Convention, who connected with us last year,” said Johnette Nelms, Administrative Director for the church. “They help to provide a fully equipped mobile dental unit to communities in Florida to provide dental care to low-income and uninsured people. The bus is fully equipped with two operating rooms, dental supplies and X-ray machine.”
Helms told us that people from the Florida Baptist Convention dropped the bus off, sent two volunteers trained in finances to help patients get medical clearance, and trained 8 more volunteers to help with all the logistics.
“These folks were so helpful, and the people we treated were so grateful to not be in pain anymore,” said Johnette. “The Lord truly does work miracles.”
The Jacksonville-based Florida Baptist Convention began its first mobile dental ministry in 1973, serving people out of a converted Winnebago. The bus in front of Beach Baptist was first put into service in 1998. Since then, it provides between 30 and 35 weeks of service per year, with funding coming from Florida Baptist church missions.
The success of the project would not have been possible without the help of local dentist Dr. Sun Park Kuo, her husband Dr. Wayne Kuo; Tampa dentist Dr. Tammy Hsu and assistant Dianne Drennan-Frisby.
“We had about 20 people/day sign up, so all the slots were filled,” Nelms told us. “Most of them received either fillings or extractions.”