Connecting the divide between underserved patients and dental care

Dentist examines a child’s teeth. Getty Images Stock Photo

Pennsylvania is known as a “dental desert.” Out of the 67 counties in our state, 64 have a partial or complete shortage of available dentists. That includes Allegheny county.

Many of the state’s available dentists don’t accept Medicaid. That makes it even more difficult for vulnerable populations—especially low-income children and elders—to receive regular preventative care that contributes to their overall health and well-being.

Alice Valenta, a public health dental hygiene practitioner, grew up in a rural area and experienced, first-hand, the difficulty in finding a dentist. After 15 years of clinical work, Ms. Valenta entered the public health field. First, she worked in nursing homes then moved on to help children before founding Golden Onsite Dental.

Golden Onsite Dental includes Alice, who provides all hands-on care at the clinics. Mila, who has a background in public health, handles the scheduling and logistic support. Dr. Steines, DMD, gives dental exams via Teledentistry. The group offers regular access to dental care to people who have insurance not accepted by all providers, including Medicaid.

Golden Onsite Dental’s services include screenings, exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and x-rays  The team also works with and makes referrals to other dental providers who can help if treatment is needed. They also have support from Medicaid insurance MCOs, which provides a direct link to their clients needing care.

Golden Onsite Dental performs these services throughout many counties in Pennsylvania in urban and rural locations, such as Head Starts and schools, the Salvation Army, YMCAs, and nursing care facilities.


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