The dental health issues in North Carolina are multifaceted and complex, requiring multiple strategies and actions by both the public and private sectors. In response to these issues, the NCIOM convened the Task Force on Dental Care Access, charged with developing strategies for improving access to dental care for low-income North Carolinians.Back to Task Forces
Sherwood Smith, Jr.
Chairman of the Board
Carolina Power & Light Company
The task force found North Carolina needs to simultaneously increase the supply of dentists and dental hygienists; build capacity among safety-net providers to address the dental care needs of low-income, Medicaid-eligible and special needs populations; and educate these groups about the importance of ongoing comprehensive dental care. In addition, more emphasis must be placed on dental education and prevention strategies to prevent costly and painful disease, especially among children.
In April 2005, the Oral Health Section of the Division of Public Health, part of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, conducted the North Carolina Oral Health Summit: Building a Collaborative for Action. Participants at this one-day summit reviewed the findings and recommendations from the 1999 NCIOM Task Force on Dental Care Access report to determine if the issues it addressed were still relevant, what actions had occurred to implement the task force’s recommendations, and the barriers to implementation. The Summit Proceedings and Action Plan outlines summit participants’ suggested changes to the original recommendations. The goal of the Summit was to identify potential strategies to improve dental care access – whether by further implementation of the original 1999 NCIOM Task Force recommendations or through new strategies.