VCU Dental Clinic
A longtime dental-health provider for those lacking funds is the VCU School of Dentistry's reduced-fee clinic. Here, dental students gain practical experience under the guidance of professors while serving the community.
Rebecca Pousson, the executive associate dean who oversees these services, says the emergency-care clinic has experienced a sharp increase in patients during the past several months.
"This is for people whose faces are swelling up, they're in severe pain. We were seeing 12 patients a day — as of January, that's up to 18 to 22. People are going to emergency services for care."
Wednesdays are pre-screening clinics to determine patients' needs. "We try to get to everybody within two weeks," Pousson says.
If the patient has insurance, then the individual pays his share. However, payment is due when services are rendered. Those with insurance find their money goes further when using clinic services. A root canal that might run $1,000 is $390 at the clinic, and that includes the crown.
A patient with a $300 minimum treatment plan may qualify for financing program offered through Wells Fargo. If the cost of care exceeds $500 and patients can pay for it, they qualify for a 15-percent discount on the already-reduced fees.
For more information, contact the VCU School of Dentistry, 828-5790, dentistry.vcu.edu/patients/clinics.aspx
Dental Clinic on Wheels
The traveling Richmond Smiles program, initiated in 2008 by city, state and regional health agencies, provides emergency and routine care to underserved city communities.
Program manager and dental hygienist Audrey Jones explains that Smiles operates using a 40-foot-long motor home refigured as a state-of-the-art, two-chair dental clinic on wheels. "Our demand has exploded," she says.
The cash-only service offers cleanings starting at $25, extractions from $59 and fillings from $30 to $60. Exams and X-rays are $32.
The Smiles bus makes monthly rounds to four city sites: St. Paul's Church, 700 E. Belt Blvd.; Richmond Health Department 10th Street Clinic, 500 N. 10th St.; Hotchkiss Community Center, 701 E. Brookland Park Blvd., and Ramsey Memorial Church, 5900 Hull Street Road. The bus remains at each of these locations for three days per month.
For more information, contact Richmond Smiles, 253-1972, cahealthnet.org or vdh.virginia.gov/lhd/richmondcity/
Free Clinic in Goochland
Brenda Buck, dental coordinator for the Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services, says the clinic's dental cases have increased. In 2007, the clinic saw 1,040 patients and in 2008, 2,130.
Buck says that the clinic's targeted population is Goochland, but she sees patients from Richmond, Charlottesville, even Maryland and beyond.
"One patient we recently treated had waited six years for treatment for dental pain. She left here all smiles when it was done."
For information, contact Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services, 556-5840, goochlandfreeclinicandfamilyservices.org
Missons of Mercy
Dr. Terry Dickinson, executive director of the Virginia Dental Association, says that the Virginia Dental Health Foundation's Mission of Mercy (MOM) program, designed to provide care to underserved localities, is seeing a huge increase in need.
During a MOM event last summer in Wise County in Southwest Virginia, patients from 12 states lined up to seek treatment.
MOM projects served 4,600 people in 2008 and Dickinson expects the figure this year to top 5,000.
For more information, contact Virginia Dental Health Foundation's Missions of Mercy, 261-1610, vadental.org (click "Enter Public")
Other Dental-Care Resources
Chesterfield County Health Department
9501 Lucy Corr Circle, Suite 404, 748-1752
Love of Jesus Health Clinic
10930 Hull Street Road, 674-7499
Henrico County Health Department
8600 Dixon Powers Drive, 501-4658
CrossOver Medical Center West Clinic
8600 Quiocassin Road, Suite 105, 233-5016
Bon Secours Care-A-Van (free dental program for uninsured residents)
Applications taken on Mondays at Powhatan Fair Building
4032 Anderson Highway (Rt. 60) 545-1920
2924 Brook Road, 228-5818
CrossOver Health Clinic
108 Cowardin Ave., 233-5016
The Daily Planet
517 W. Grace St., 783-0678