Good oral health has increasingly been linked to good overall heath. Unfortunately, many people in rural and underserved areas struggle to get the dental care they need. Whether it results from a lack of nearby dentists or an inability to pay, many go without regular check-ups. The Rice Regional Dental Clinic in Wilmar, MN is working to overcome these challenges and make sure residents get the quality dental care they need.
The clinic primarily serves patients in 17 surrounding counties, with a focus on bringing care to rural populations and those with financial difficulties. Rice Regional Dental Clinic has also partnered with the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. This partnership provides dental and dental hygiene students the opportunity to do rotations in a rural area. The goal is to not only expose students to what rural practice is like, but also encourage them to one day practice full time in these areas. Having this educational partnership also allows the clinic to promote dental careers to area residents, bringing in a new generation of professionals interested in rural care.
Activities and events aimed at bringing dental care to those most in need are vital to the clinic. For example, on February 3 the clinic participated in the 2012 national Give Kids a Smile Day. Dentists, hygienists and dental assistants from across the area provided care, free of charge, to children from low-income families. Events such as this provide another way to bring care to those in need.
Providing communities with dental care is an important piece of providing overall quality healthcare. Thanks to facilities like the Rice Regional Dental Clinic, a regular visit to the dentist can be a reality for those who otherwise may have had to do without.