Dental Access Project

Oral health is essential to overall health, yet more than half of Americans go without a dental visit each year. Across the country, 56 million people live in areas without enough oral health  providers to meet community need. Millions of Americans live in pain and miss school or work. In extreme cases, people can develop life-threatening infections due to lack of dental care. The Dental Access Project supports community-led efforts to:

The Project uses a health justice framework to improve access to equitable oral health coverage and care. Our current work is focused in two specific areas:

Advance the dental therapy movement on the state, tribal and national levels.

The Dental Therapist Project, a joint initiative between Community Catalyst and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, empowers community groups and consumer health advocates to expand the dental team to include a dental practitioner called a dental therapist. Through intentional program design, dental therapists are working in community settings, bringing care that is holistic, respectful and grounded in the culture and traditions of the people they serve. In collaboration with the National Indian Health Board and the National Coalition of Dentists for Health Equity we also convene the National Partnership for Dental Therapy to elevate support for dental therapists.

Strengthen and diversify the oral health advocacy base to promote a more equitable oral health care delivery system.

In collaboration with the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement, we use Community Catalyst’s system of advocacy approach to help strengthen and bring a diversity of voices into oral health policy advocacy spaces, and to ensure statewide oral health policy change is grounded in the needs of communities. In partnership with local and state groups, we elevate community voices and offer best practices to ensure they are strong, effective and respected in the oral health community.

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