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At mobile clinic, clean teeth are happy teeth

Roman Bakken Jr. did his part on Tuesday.

The pre-schooler didn't put up a fuss when dental hygienist Amie-Jo Leshovsky went through her routine of cleaning Roman's teeth.

Roman was just one of close to 60 local children to receive dental service as part of Apple Tree Dental clinic's mobile clinic.

For two days, a dentist along with assistants filled cavities, extracted baby teeth, performed pulpectomies (baby-teeth root canals) and cleaned teeth at the St. Mary's Innovis Health North Campus building in Detroit Lakes.

"It's convenient and faster, said Roman's mother, Lisa Fairbanks.

Plus, Apple Tree Dental does its job well, said Fairbanks.

"They make him feel comfortable," she said.

Leshovsky said that getting patients the help they need in a convenient way is one of Apple Tree's goals.

The main reason for the clinic's existence is the lack of dentists in the area. Or having access to them.

Part of the problem, Leshovsky said, is that dentists do not accept all insurance plans out there. Patients on medical assistance are hit the hardest because some dentists won't take those patients.

"We take care of dental needs to those who have limited access," Leshovsky said.

The Apple Tree Dental clinic rolls through Detroit Lakes twice a year. In the meantime, the clinic also takes its mobile lab around the region, making stops in six other cities.

Despite being mobile, the clinic has the basics to get the job done.

There is an X-ray machine brought in to find cavities or other problems. And dental technicians don't have to wait to develop film.

The system is digital, with a sensor the size of regular dental X-ray film that is placed in a patient's mouth. A cord coming out of the sensor and into a nearby laptop computer displays the image in a few seconds.

"We line it all up," Leshovsky said. "There's no developing at all. We get an instant image."

There wasn't a dentist on hand on Tuesday, but Leshovsky said that the clinic's dentists review the X-rays and notes to determine proper follow-up care.

Additional dental work, if needed, can be set up for Apple Tree Dental's Hawley office.