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Dental clinic’s services exceed $5 million mark
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Dental student J. Brad Loftin works in the Community Dental Clinic in Martinsville. (Contributed photo)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Community Dental Clinic in Martinsville has provided more than $5 million worth of services in the past seven years.

The clinic, located on Fayette Street in Martinsville, is operated by the Piedmont Virginia Dental Health Foundation.

Observing its seventh anniversary, the foundation has provided $5,135,006 of care to unemployed or uninsured adults and children eligible for Medicaid in Martinsville and Henry County, according to a news release.

The results are:

• 26,961 diagnostic services

• 13,317 preventive services

• 11,217 fillings

• 1,034 root canals

• 9,413 extractions

• 22,551 patient visits

“We are gratified by the success of the dental clinic in seven years and are grateful for the tremendous support we have received,” said Dr. Mark Crabtree of Martinsville, president and founder of the foundation. “The demand for dental services among low income adults and children continues to increase, and we must obtain additional funding to meet the needs here in our community.”

About 80 percent of local dentists have volunteered some time in the clinic, according to the release.

“Dentists in Martinsville understand the extreme hardship that the local economic conditions have placed on our community,” said Crabtree. “Their volunteer participation has made our program a success, and they are dedicated to giving their time to enable the dental clinic to provide quality dental care.”

The commitment of the Dental School at Virginia Commonwealth University is another major reason for the success of the clinic, said Crabtree.

“The clinic gives dental students an excellent opportunity to gain clinical experience; the students, in turn, provide quality care to patients. It’s a win-win situation,” he said.

“The Community Dental Clinic in Martinsville meets the goals for our students’ learning by promoting civic engagement while addressing societal needs,” said Dr. David C. Sarrett, dean of the School of Dentistry at VCU. “For these reasons, the Martinsville clinic is at the top of our list of community partners.”

Crabtree said the foundation needs additional financial support to cover its annual operating budget of approximately $470,000. Fundraising plans are in the works and will be announced later, he added.

“As the demand continues to increase, the foundation must have significant revenue from the community to cover the cost of providing free dental services,” he said. “Reimbursement from Medicaid and payments from patients meet 44 percent of our needs, but we must rely on donations and grants from community and dental organizations to survive.”

“The dental clinic has made a world of difference in our community,” said Dr. Molly O’Dell, interim director of the West Piedmont Health District. “The impact goes beyond the impressive statistics. Access to appropriate dental care leads to improved sense of self-worth, a higher quality of life and a desire to be a more productive member of the community.”

A longtime resident of Martinsville, Crabtree has experienced the changing economic conditions that have resulted in high unemployment and more low-income residents.

“Our community can hold its head high because of the success of this program, which has made a true difference in the oral health of thousands of people,” he said. “The foundation is true to its mission — to provide dental services to those who cannot afford them. We must continue our work because the need continues to increase.”


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