New facility in Columbus aims to increase number of rural dentists, dental assistants

Marion resident Megan, 41, is mom to four children ages 4, 9, 12 and 13. Her youngest child has disabilities and requires 24/7 care. “If something was different with my daughter, I would be working,” she explains. “I used to be a CNA and I loved it. That’s not an option anymore.” To preserve her family’s privacy, Megan asked Xpress to use her first name only.

Megan’s husband works full time, and his modest income exceeds the level that would allow the adults in the family to qualify for Medicaid, though their children are covered under N.C. Health Choice. After not seeing a dentist for three years, a bad toothache that kept getting worse drove Megan to explore her options.

“I even looked at regular dentists and told them I didn’t have insurance. It was like, ‘It will be this much money out the door for us to even look at you,’” she recalls. Desperate, she contacted the McDowell County Department of Social Services and learned that Mountain Area Health Education Center offers dental care on a sliding fee scale at its Glenwood clinic.

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