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New dental clinic on wheels brightens our community – one smile at a time!

The new Tri-County Community Dental Clinic mobile bus is an amazing example of community need being supported by many generous donors in the community including two donor funds within the Community Foundation. The entire cost of the $650,000 mobile clinic was completely covered before the bus was even delivered two days before last Christmas! Just in time to help youngsters who hadn’t seen a dentist for a long time due to the pandemic.

Volunteer hygienist Katie W.’s patient is all smiles

The mobile clinic is an extension of the clinic’s free “Robert Glass Focus on the Children” dental care program, first started in 2009. The program provides onsite dental care at schools, shelters and youth organizations to ensure all children in Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago counties have access to needed oral healthcare. These are kids who might not  otherwise see a dentist or hygienist.

The clinic tells me that the number of children who come through their doors as “walk-ins” who need emergency treatment for pain or infection has increased by a couple hundred since 2019.  The program is able to give these children the care they need thanks to an ongoing commitment from over 100 volunteer dentists and hygienists.

The new mobile bus has three chairs, a dental lab and all of the equipment that a conventional dentist office has. Above each chair is a video screen showing cartoons and movies to distract the patients from any apprehension! The mobile clinic serves between 2-3,000 children each year, sometimes examining up to 80 children per day.

A day of exams at Franklin School in Appleton in May.

During the school year, the two buses visit local schools to serve students. When school is not in session, Tri-County Dental continues to reach out within the community, serving people at Rawhide, Harbor House, Mooring House, St. Joes Food Pantry, COTS, Riverview Gardens, Casa Clare, Boys and Girls Clubs in Appleton, Menasha, and Oshkosh, and more.

Dr. Belter doing a filling on a child at the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh

The buses eliminate transportation barriers for parents and families who may be struggling in many other aspects.  The Foundation is thrilled to help make this new bus a reality.

Because the need in the Fox Valley is so great, the clinic was able to add this second mobile clinic to provide the free services to even more residents.

Recently I was treated to a tour of the state-of-the-art features of the bus. I am excited to share it with you:


We’re thrilled to help make the new bus a reality. The investment of all the generous donors in the community, in partnership with the clinic volunteers and remarkable staff members, is brightening our community – one smile at a time!

In addition to the generous support of the community, the new dental bus received a $100,000 grant from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund and a $1,000 grant from The Real Estate Group Foundation Fund, both within the Community Foundation.

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