Lack of affordable dental care remains red flag for Springfield community
Lack of access to dental services is a red flag in Springfield, as it has been for years. That's according to the recent Community Focus Report.
The report found more than 20% of Springfield's population has poor dental health, much higher than the national rate of 15.7%. It's especially a problem for people without insurance and those on Medicaid. Patients say it's difficult to find a dentist who takes Medicaid, especially adult Medicaid. But they do at Jordan Valley Clinic in Springfield, since part of their mission is to provide care to the underserved. They not only do regular dental appointments, but a few years ago, Jordan Valley opened up it's Dental Express Care. It allows patients to just walk in without an appointment. And it averages 20-plus patients a day looking for urgent dental care.
The last three years, Springfield emergency rooms saw 50% fewer patients coming in for dental help.
Brianne Browning says she doesn't know where else she could get dental care on Medicaid.
"I wouldn't be coming to a dentist," said Brianne Browning, Jordan Valley Clinic dental patient. "My teeth would be bad to where I couldn't eat. Because normally, whenever I would eat and one side but get bad, I just go to the other side. And then the other side we get bad and then it's like, okay."
Another one of Jordan Valley's efforts to increase access to care is with their two mobile dental units that they take to schools on a regular basis.