Advertisement

Breaking down the barriers of accessing dental care in rural North Carolina

Some dentists are pulling thousands of teeth a year because people aren’t able to visit the dentist regularly.
AppHealthCare actually has a completely portable dentist’s office in Ashe County.
AppHealthCare actually has a completely portable dentist’s office in Ashe County.(WBTV)
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 4:05 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Have you been flossing regularly? Probably a question you’ve gotten before at the dentist.

If that’s your worst problem, you’re doing pretty well.

Some dentists are pulling thousands of teeth a year because people aren’t able to visit the dentist regularly.

An investigation has found the lack of access to dental care plagues many parts of rural America. One reason why is the American Dental Association estimates 67 percent of all dentists in the U.S. don’t accept patients on Medicaid, insurance for the poor.

To make up for the lack of dentists, researchers say education must start with children. Even a program as simple as setting aside school time to brush teeth will help.

One solution is actually bringing the dentist to school.

AppHealthCare actually has a completely portable dentist’s office in Ashe County.

They’re going to schools, farms, you name it - to make dental care more accessible.

On Your Side Tonight’s Greg Simpson used his camera to show us how it works.

We spoke to Dr. Amanda Stroud, DMD, the Dental Director of AppHealthCare.

“Being able to travel here for dental care isn’t an obstacle for some people. Being able to get in, get here on time for their appointments, make sure they get the care that they need is really something that’s difficult to overcome in some families around here. Here at AppHealthCare, I serve as the dental director and the chief dental officer, we serve not only people from Ashe County, but also from Watauga. County and Allegheny County. Those are our sister counties. We have completely portable equipment, we take it out, we set it up inside of the schools. And then we also use that same equipment to utilize on our migrant farms for a migrant farm outreach program or a foreign worker health program as it’s referred to,” Dr. Stroud said.

Tomasa Sanchez, an AppHealthCare client also spoke.

“I come in here, they treat me like part of the family. If you don’t have money, they give you the chance to make your payment or new treatment. This is important for us because the first time it’s closed, we don’t have to drive like 30 minutes, 40 minutes to go to the dentist,” Sanchez said.

We’re highlighting shortcomings and solutions like these as part of our Bridging the Great Health Divide initiative. It’s an effort by all of our sister stations.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.