Providing Dental Services to the State’s Underinsured and Uninsured

Oral health needs often go untreated when resources are limited, including dental insurance or access to providers.
A young girl brushes her teeth with a kid sized toothbrush

To help care for Tennesseans, the UT Health Science Center’s College of Dentistry established regional community clinics across the state.

The college opened the doors of three dental clinics in 2015 and 2016 to serve the working poor in west, middle and east Tennessee—in Union City, Chattanooga and Bristol. More clinics are being considered as the College of Dentistry moves to expand its footprint across the state.

The clinics are supervised by faculty and staffed by fourth-year dental students as well as dental hygiene students, who are providing dental services while gaining clinical experience. The clinics provide a community service and allow students to see different populations that they would not typically see in Memphis, affording them better training and preparing them to enter the workforce.

Clinics also reflect UTHSC’s goal to have a statewide presence through locations across Tennessee. The Union City dental clinic is located in space donated through the generosity of the Bill and Carol Latimer Charitable Foundation. The Bristol clinic is located in the Healing Hands Health Center. The Chattanooga clinic is located in the Dodson Avenue Neighborhood Health Center and cares for the community with chairs and X-ray equipment donated by Delta Dental of Tennessee.

These clinics are examples of win-win partnerships benefiting communities across the state and serve as models for future program expansion.

Everywhere you look, UT is serving Tennessee.