A lack of dental care for low-income Americans has long put stress on hospital emergency rooms, according to a recent study published by Health Affairs. As of January 2013, about 45 million Americans were living in rural and urban regions with shortages of dental care providers.
To increase access to oral health services for families in Alachua County, Florida, United Health Foundation has partnered with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County's Dental Emergency Department Diversion Program to open the Southwest Dental Clinic in the Linton Oaks neighborhood.
The Southwest Dental Clinic is funded by a $1.85 million partnership grant from United Health Foundation and will provide preventive and restorative dental care, such as examinations, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatment, fillings and tooth extractions.
The Dental Diversion program aims to improve access to oral health care for Alachua County residents, who now will have an option other than the emergency room for dental care. Success measures will include improvement in access to preventive and restorative dental care, and reduction in health care costs.