The Dental Clinic
The Dental Clinic provides services to individuals that do not have access to dental care.
The Dental Clinic provides care to over 2,200 people of all ages each year with its one full-time dentist and one-full time hygienist. These patients do not have health insurance, cannot afford proper care, and some are homeless. Dental students from University of Louisville volunteer each semester allowing additional clients to be seen as demand for services is high, and the wait for an appointment is about 6 – 8 weeks. Patients come from a ten-county region in Southcentral Kentucky with a total population of 319,688. The poverty levels in all of these counties exceed the national average of 12.3%, with six of these counties having a poverty level over 20%. The clinic provides important services, including x-rays, dental cleanings, fillings and extractions. If patients need oral surgery, patients are referred to oral surgeons. The clinic pays for the needed procedures and the oral surgeons accept reduced payment for their services.
The $25,000 would cover the cost of extending The Dental Clinic’s services into the community by conducting mobile screening events. The Commonwealth of Kentucky requires proof of a dental screening of examination by a dentist, dental hygienists, or other medical practitioners before children can be enrolled in school. The Dental Clinic will partner with head start programs, elementary schools, and other non-profit groups in the region to hosts mobile screening events for children who will begin kindergarten. These mobile screenings events will provide parents an opportunity to comply with state mandated requirements at no cost. It also will allow the Dental Clinic staff to share information about the importance of regular dentist visits and identify any concerns in the dental health of the children that they see. Should specific needs be identified, the Dental Clinic staff can make appointments to follow up at The Dental Clinic or refer them to pediatric dentists in the area.
After a patient’s first appointment, he or she almost always becomes a regular patient returning for scheduled dental care. This routine care significantly increases the overall health of the patient, preventing not only tooth decay and gum disease but decreasing the risk for more serious diseases. Last year, 101 children made the Dental Clinic their Dental Home. The mobile outreach events will provide an important tool making parents aware of the services provided by the Dental Clinic and encouraging those eligible for treatment to schedule an appointment. The investment would have a lasting impact on those that cannot afford dental services. It will provide a much-needed service for children starting Kindergarten and will encourage eligible families to take advantage of the opportunities for care provided by the Dental Clinic. These services will improve the health and lives of patients, allowing them to live healthier lives free of pain caused by lack of proper dental care.