ASHEBORO N.C. – The dental clinic provided by Randolph County Public Health will be returning and expanding with a school based oral health program including screening and education thanks to a partnership with Kintegra Family Dental and a $375,000 grant.
On December 5th, 2022, RCPH director Tara Aker addressed the Board at the monthly County Commissioners Meeting.
The department has been trying to fill an open position for a dental hygienist since March of 2022. Despite posting the job across several platforms, Aker admitted that “not one person has applied.”
“There’s just not enough dentists to go around” said Aker. “The health department has a hard time recruiting and keeping dentist because we just can’t compete with private practice.”
Now, thanks to a partnership with Kintegra Family Dental and a $375,000 grant, dental services will not only resume but expand with a school based oral health program.
“Kintegra Family Dental will be coming into our health department, they will be taking over our dental clinic, providing staff, providing equipment, in order to continue services that are needed here in the county” said Aker.
Located at 2222-South Fayetteville Street in Asheboro and open from 8am-5pm Monday through Friday, the clinic serves children from one-years-old through high school who are residents of Randolph County and meet financial eligibility guidelines.
Adults who have a dental emergency, such as dental pain or swelling, and who are financially eligible may be seen for treatment of the emergency only.
School Based Oral Health Program
The $375,000 grant will be used to implement a school-based oral health program. Kintegra will provide a mobile dental unit in the form of a bus to allow kids to get dental screening services right in the parking lot of the school.
According to the RCPH website, the dental health staff will visit all the Randolph County and Asheboro City Schools for dental screening and education of all students in kindergarten. When a dental need is determined, dental health staff notify parents by a letter in a sealed envelope that is sent home with the student. Dental health staff work with School Nurses to follow-up on those students referred for dental care. The goal is for all children with a dental need to receive care and find a dental home.
During the screenings, students receive educational information relating to dental health, such as oral hygiene, diet, and regular visits to the dentist. Dental Health staff also present educational programs to classrooms at other times.
The plan is to start off at eight of the schools with the highest number of free or reduced lunches with plans to expand services to other elementary schools and even middle schools in the future.