The dentist comes to the patient in a new Dental House Calls Program now available to homebound Utah County residents.
The portable dental equipment, which arrived in Orem Saturday, is the same kind used by the American forces in Saudi Arabia, said Dr. Ross Cheesman.Cheesman, an Orem dentist and director of the Utah County house calls program, said, "I've done homebound dentistry for the last five years. I have another set of portables that I used. This new equipment is for use by all the dentists in the valley.
The $15,000 worth of portable equipment was purchased with a grant from the Orem Community Hospital through the Intermountain Health Care Foundation. The dental chair, power unit, light and X-ray machine are all collapsible for ease in transporting.
There is a subsidy program available for patients who cannot pay. The only requirement to be served by the program is to be homebound, said Cheesman.
The screening process is free. Grants totaling $3,500 from Orem city's development services and Intermountain Health Care will fund the screening, said Cheesman.
The portable equipment can be used for a "full range of dental services," said Cheesman, including crowns, bridges and dentures. He estimated the cost of a house call check-up, including teeth cleaning, to be about $120.
There is a sliding scale for charges, based on a person's ability to pay. "It's not a moneymaking thing," said Cheesman. "It's a service."
Cheesman estimates that about 600 homebound patients live in Utah County, not including people in nursing homes. "We hope to get to one-third of the patients before next July when the grant money is up."
Homebound people interested in having a dental house call can call Cheesman at 225-7555 or the Utah Dental Association at 1-800-662-6500.