Michigan Oral Health Coalition
Community Programs
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The below list identifies programs for populations that have difficulties accessing oral health services. These community-based programs use a variety of educational tools and methods.

Calhoun County Dental Access Initiative
This initiative’s mission is to help reverse the trend of poor dental care among Calhoun County’s most vulnerable populations. To receive services, the patient must first volunteer in the community four hours for every $100 of treatment. Patients qualify if they have no dental insurance, live in Calhoun County and make less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. There is also an educational component that requires patients to attend an oral health education class and receive one-on-one training with a dental hygienist. About 60% of the practicing dentists in the county participate in the program and donate dental services such as cleanings, fillings, extractions, X-rays, dental supplies and other specialized services. Read more

Community Health Centers
Community Health Centers (CHCs) provide high-quality primary and preventive health care to people in rural and urban medically underserved areas. With the help of local communities, CHCs reduce or eliminate barriers to care and health disparities, improve health, and lower health system costs. Currently, 27 CHCs at 57 delivery sites provide dental services to their patients. Read more

Community Outreach by Dental Schools
In 2011, the University of Michigan School of Dentistry expanded its community outreach program in the Traverse City area and launched a new program in the Thumb area. U of M dental students work with private practitioners, local health agencies and community colleges to provide oral health care to the underserved and underinsured. Through two clinics, four outreach clinics and a mobile unit, the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry also offers oral health services and education to the community. Additionally, students in the dental assistant program at Northwestern Michigan College and registered hygienists help to meet the oral health needs of underserved groups in clinics such as the Traverse Health Clinic. Dental services provided include examinations, treatment plans, extractions, restorations, crowns and dentures.

Dental School Clinics
Both the University of Michigan and University of Detroit Mercy Schools of Dentistry have university clinics that are open to the public. Patients are offered three levels of service: Treatment by dental and dental hygiene students under supervision with fees 30–50% lower than private practice; Treatment by dentists seeking a graduate degree or board certification in their specialty with fees 20% lower than private practice; or Treatment by faculty members in a private-practice setting. Most dental insurance plans are accepted, including Medicaid. The U of M clinic  is located at the main campus in Ann Arbor. The University of Detroit Mercy clinics are located at the Corktown Campus and at Detroit Receiving Hospital.  

Donated Dental Services
Michigan’s Donated Dental Services program provides dental treatment at no cost for applicants that are low income, need extensive dental work, and have no dental insurance. Patients must also be either age 62 or older, permanently disabled, or mentally ill. Since the program’s inception, more than $13 million worth of services have been contributed to nearly 5,200 disabled or aged people who had no other way of getting needed care. Read more 

Emergency Room
In A Costly Dental Destination, the Pew Center on the States estimated that preventable dental conditions were the primary diagnosis for 830,590 ER visits by Americans in 2009—a 16% increase from 2006. Pew concludes that states can reduce hospital visits, strengthen oral health and reduce their costs by making modest investments to improve access to preventive care. Research shows the average cost of a Medicaid enrollee’s inpatient hospital treatment for dental problems is nearly 10 times more expensive than the cost of preventive care delivered in a dentist’s office. Additionally, most ERs are not staffed with dentists, so care from these facilities is unlikely to provide lasting relief, as the underlying oral health problems often go untreated. Read more  

Free Clinics
Free and charitable clinics are safety-net health care organizations that utilize a volunteer/staff model to provide a range of services to individuals who are uninsured, underinsured and/or have limited or no access to primary, specialty or prescription health care. There are nearly 60 free clinics in Michigan, and each month these clinics serve more than 7,500 uninsured citizens. Services include primary care for children and adults, mental health care, prescription assistance, dental services, patient education programs, specialty services, optometry services and social services. Read more

Local Health Departments
Local public health is the focal point for responding to threats in the community such as communicable and chronic disease, lack of access to health care and failure to protect the environment. Local public health departments also link people to needed personal health services and assure provision of health care when otherwise unavailable. Michigan currently has 45 local health departments that provide public health services to all 83 counties. Nineteen of those currently provide dental services. Read more  

Michigan Community Dental Clinics
Michigan Community Dental Clinics Inc. (MCDC) provides quality, compassionate dental care for adults and children covered by Medicaid, Healthy Kids Dental and MIChild, as well as uninsured patients whose income in below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. MCDC creates and manages dental clinics on behalf of the local Public Health Departments in Michigan in order to address poor access to dental care. Currently, MCDC administers a network of clinics, primarily in Northern Michigan, that serve more than 90,000 individuals statewide. Read more 

Missions of Mercy
These events are gatherings of volunteer dental professionals who, along with volunteer staff, hold free, two-day dental clinics. Generally cleanings, fillings, extractions, some oral surgery, root canals (at some locations), denture repair and oral hygiene education are offered. About 1,000 patients are treated per day on a first-come, first-serve basis. Since 2000, more than 100,000 patients have been seen and nearly $50 million in free services has been provided around the country. Read more  

Native American Services and Health Clinics
In Michigan, 13 tribal centers contract with the Indian Health Service to provide comprehensive health care to American Indians. At least four of the centers also provide care to non-Indian people within their geographic service area, and at least four of the centers provide dental services. The Field Health Office provides management and technical assistance, consultation and some direct preventive components to Michigan Tribal Communities including environmental health, health education, mental health/substance abuse, nursing and nutrition. Read more  

Private Practice
According to a 2009 report from the American Dental Association, there are 165,000 active dentists in private practice in the United States. In Michigan, 9 out of 10 licensed practicing dentists are working in private practice. However, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, nearly half of Michigan’s 83 counties have a shortage of dental professionals. While many private practice dentists do not treat Medicaid-enrolled patients, seven out of ten do provide charitable care in their practices. Read more  

Public Act 161 Programs
The purpose of the Public Act 161: Public Dental Prevention Program is to provide preventive dental services to children and adults who do not have access to traditional dental care. Through approved applications, non-profit agencies can use dental hygienist service providers to administer preventive services to those most in need of oral health care. Services offered through the program include diagnostic screening and preventive care such as fluoride varnish, sealants and oral health education. According to the Michigan Department of Community Health 2011 Annual Report, there are 53 approved PA 161 Programs in Michigan with 93 supervising dentists and 181 registered dental hygienists. Read more

School Health Centers
There are nearly 100 school-based and school-linked health centers in Michigan that bring health care services to children when they’re at school. With an emphasis on prevention, early intervention and risk reduction, school-based health centers counsel students on healthy habits and how to prevent injury, violence and other threats. All Michigan clinical health centers include oral health assessment and referral among the services they provide, with 11 offering dental services on site. Read more  

VINA Community Dental Center
The VINA (Vision, Integrity, Need, Action) Community Dental Center is a non-profit facility that improves quality of life through better oral health, promotes dental care seeking behaviors and elevates prevention awareness. Patients of the VINA Clinic must live in Livingston County, be 19 years or older, and live in a household that has no dental insurance and has incomes at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (including public assistance, social security and unemployment). Services provided include exams, cleanings, filings, X-rays, fluoride treatments, extractions and dental education materials. Read more