Case Study: Service Gap Filled with New Dental Clinic
Meeting the Need for Low-income Families
Community Dental Care, one of the largest nonprofit dental clinics in Minnesota, identified a significant, unmet need for dental health care access among low income families in Southeastern Minnesota. They needed data to help their funder understand this growing need. Additional grant money would fund a new clinic in Rochester to supplement Community Dental Care’s Rochester clinic where patients wait two months for a dentist appointment and seven months for a dental hygienist.
Of the 70,745 people eligible for public programs in Olmsted County and the six bordering counties, almost 70 percent went without care in 2014. Only 43 percent of the more than 10,000 Medicaid-eligible children visited a dentist.
Data Helped Illustrate the Need
Using oral health data in their grant application, Community Dental Care applied for grant funding from Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation (DDMF).
Community Dental Care compared data from 2012 through 2014 from the MN Public Health Data Access portal that showed a pattern of decreasing access for low-income families in Olmsted and the six bordering counties. They also compared 2014 portal data with their own 2014 statistics, and found that their current Rochester clinic provided close to 25% of the dental encounters for patients in Olmsted County and almost 19% of all patient encounters in the six bordering counties.
A strong grant application defined the service gap and health disparities using oral health data found on the MN Public Health Data Access Portal.
Community Dental Care received a $1 million grant from DDMF to build an 18 chair dental clinic in Rochester completed in September 2017, substantially increasing access to dental care.
Oral health is key to overall health. From cavities to oral cancers, oral health affects children and adults across Minnesota. Increasing evidence links periodontitis, a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone supporting the teeth, to chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke as well as premature births and low birth weight.
Environmental public health data can be accessed through the Minnesota Public Health Data Access Portal.
An ongoing collaboration between the Minnesota Tracking Program and the Minnesota Oral Health Statistics System (MNOHSS) improves access to critical data affecting the dental and oral health of Minnesotans.