Marisa Mannarino wasn’t expecting to launch her mobile dental service business in a pandemic, but sometimes as an entrepreneur, you don’t get to choose your circumstances.
The Hamilton-based dental hygienist, who has been practicing for more than 30 years, launched her business Dental Care in Motion in February just as the COVID-19 pandemic struck Canada. However, after a dozen or so appointments she had to shut down in March, only recently reopening as Hamilton and the Niagara Region entered Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan.
Her idea is to make professional dental care mobile so that anyone that wanted a home visit from a dental professional could book it, and have their teeth or whitened in the comfort of their own home.
Mannarino said she started the service because she said: “I love what I do and I love to be of service.”
Mobile dental care house calls
Mannarino brings a mobile dental chair, which folds up, as well as tools that you would ordinarily see in a dentist’s office, in a portable dental kit.
She also has implemented procedures to ensure safety for herself and her clients around the possible spread of COVID-19. Besides wearing personal protective equipment, Mannarino also brings a high-volume air filter to each appointment that is designed to kill microbes such as the coronavirus which causes COVID-19.
Her clients are primarily families who have kids and want everyone’s teeth cleaned in one appointment at home in one visit.
Dental insurance covers most visits which cost about the same as a visit to a dentist office, however Mannarino also takes payment by cash and credit cards.
When she arrives, Mannarino sets up in the client’s kitchen, living room or dining room. She’ll even attend a client’s bedside if they are bedridden or request it.
Dental clinic on wheels makes house calls
Besides care in people’s homes, she also offers service in care facilities, for those that are infirm or elderly or have mobility challenges. She has done hospital bedside dental care as well as provided services in elder care facilities.
Mannarino can even set up in a workplace if a business owner wants to offer dental care services on-premises for their employees.
Mannarino’s husband James Fish also works in the new business. He is an educational assistant working for the Hamilton School Board. His expertise is working with students with behavioral challenges.
Together, Fish and Mannarino also offer dental care to clients with sensory or mobility issues. That includes clients with Asperger’s, autism, and other physical and mental challenges.
“I realized there is a huge population that has unmet dental needs due to anxiety, physical and mental health conditions, lack of mobility, or just simply issues with logistics. I wanted to fill the gap in the community,” said Mannarino.
If a client has a dental condition that requires the services of a dentist, Mannarino will refer them to a dentist office near them that can provide more advanced medical treatment.
Dental Hygiene Super Hero
Mannarino was the recipient of a national award from the Canadian Dental Hygienist Association in June. The CDHA’s Dental Hygiene Super Hero contest sought out inspiring dental hygienists in Canada.
“We want to recognize oral health care providers who are ambassadors of the profession and model exceptional client care,” said Leanne Huvenaars, CDHA president.
Mannarino was recognized by the association as one of three top finalists.
Dental Care in Motion operates in Hamilton as well as Grimsby, Lincoln, and West Lincoln and all Niagara Region communities. Mannarino will travel as far as the U.S. border to service Niagara Falls and Fort Erie. She also serves Burlington and Oakville and west to Kitchener-Waterloo.