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Kool Smiles: Performing Dental Services in Underserved Communities

Among the many threats to our nation’s health is the staggering number of communities in which dental services are not performed or are underperformed. Over 100 million Americans do not regularly visit the dentist either because they can’t afford it, or there is not a dentist office close to them. Kool Smiles aims to reverse this trend by performing dental services where they are otherwise scarcely present.

Kool Smiles Serves Communities Around the Country

Kool Smiles has over 120 locations across 15 states and Washington D.C., and the majority of those offices are in areas where residents do not have many other options for receiving quality, affordable dental care. These underserved areas are found in both urban and rural areas alike.

How to Dental Deserts Occur?

Dental facilities tend to follow the money. A dentist wishing to open his/her own practice will most often try to do so in a more affluent area, because the assumption is that he/she will be able to do the following:

  • Charge more for services
  • Have a clientele that makes regular visits
  • Experience higher rates of collection

In lower income areas, dentists risk the following challenges:

  • Having a customer base that only sees a dentist when they really need it or during a dental emergency
  • Low collection rates
  • Having to charge less for service

These factors lead to a dispersion of dental offices that are saturated in more affluent areas and scarce in lower income areas.

Another major contributor to the lack of affordable care is the low rate of Medicaid acceptance. Dentists are not required by law to accept Medicaid patients, and because the reimbursement for Medicaid is low and the paperwork so complex, many dentists choose not to accept it. This leaves many people without an option for dental services, even if there is a dentist close to them.

The Kool Smiles Solution

Kool Smiles was founded on the very belief that all families have a right to quality and affordable dental care. That’s why Kool Smiles offices are positioned in underserved areas and proudly accept Medicaid at each and every one. The Kool Smiles goal is to fill the dental void in these areas and perform services where no one else will.

A lack of education about oral hygiene is also a major contributor to America’s dental crisis. There are some children who never visit a dentist and may never be exposed to proper dental education or best practices. That’s why Kool Smiles takes dental education so seriously and provides an extensive collection of reading material, videos, activity worksheets and more, all designed to help parents and teachers educate kids and youth about proper dental care.

Learn more about Kool Smiles, and how its dental professionals are making a difference in underserved communities.

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Source:

http://familiesusa.org/blog/addressing-the-gap-in-dental-access