Free dental care in Kentucky
Dr. Edwin Smith has spent about $150,000.00 of his own money to equip a mobile van to provide free dental care in rural areas of Kentucky. As noted elsewhere in this blog, fully ten percent of the residents of Kentucky have NO teeth, due to a combination of too few dentists, a poor, rural population, limitations on Medicaid treatment and reimbursement and lack of dental insurance. Dr. Smith created "Kids First Dental Care" on the back of an 18-wheeler and leaves his private practice on a weekly basis to provide free check-ups to children in rural areas. According to health officials, almost half of the state's children between 2 and 4 have untreated cavities and toothache is a leading cause of school absence. Fatalities have been reported from untreated oral infections. Fewer than twenty-five percent of the state's dentists will treat Medicaid patients: they argue that the government pays only about half the "market" value of dental care.