Did you know that over 100 million Americans didn’t go to the dentist last year? Countless people live with dental pain due to lack of money or not having insurance. But many also avoid visiting the dentist due to fear, perhaps it was a negative experience they had as a child or as an adult. If you’re living with dental pain at the present moment and would love to visit the dentist, but can’t afford it financially, the dentists at Aspen Dental may be help to help you. They’ve teamed up with Oral Health America for the Healthy Mouth Movement, and they will be offering one free day of dental care. I was joined by Beth Truett of Oral Health America and Dr. Clark Downey, DDS of Aspen Dental to discuss the Healthy Mouth Movement, the current state of oral healthcare in the United States, how to overcome your fear of the dentist, how folks can register for the free day of dental care, and to find out where the closest clinic will be in your area.
Candace Rose: What is the healthy mouth movement?
Dr. Clark Downey, DDS: “Well, basically Aspen dentists at Aspen Dental have noticed that we really truly have a crisis in America. It’s amazing that over 100 million Americans didn’t go to the dentist last year, and we see so many people living in dental pain…so we really want to do something about this. We’re launching the Healthy Mouth Movement with a few focuses- one is the educational component. We’re teaming up with a wonderful organization, Oral Health America. This is really going to help with the education component of educating people to take care of their mouth and valuing dental care. We also want to put some action behind that so we’re doing most of our 400 locations. In 2014 we’re going to open for one free day of dental service as well as we have a mobile dental that does everything you can do in any office right on it. It drives into areas where dental care is the greatest need. It’s free of charge, no questions asked. It’s very easy to learn if you go to our website AspenDental.com, you can learn how you can become a patient on the one free day of dental care.”
Candace Rose: What is the current state of oral healthcare in the U.S. and how can we change it?
Beth Truett: “That’s an excellent question because people in many instances don’t realize how closely connected the health of their mouth is with the rest of their body, so bringing awareness to the issue – dental has been largely kind of under the covers relative to the Affordable Care Act. Only children and pregnant moms ended up receiving coverage, so Oral Health America produced a report called A State Of Decay to look at the health of adults in the United States and we identified various factors – cost being the number one being the number one barrier, so helping to improve the options for cost; also fear. There’s not a lot that we can do about that, but certainly the dentists at Aspen can help with that. Then, critically location.
One of the reasons that this partnership is important is the fact that Aspen has chosen many communities where previous dental care was not provided. And then still, if there is an issue our website ToothWisdom.org will help people to find resources in addition to those Aspen offices.”
Candace Rose: You mentioned that fear is one of the biggest barriers. What advice do you have for those who have been avoiding going to the dentist because they’re fearful of it?
Dr. Clark Downey, DDS: “A lot of people are fearful of the dentist. Maybe they had bad experiences as a child, or maybe just one bad experience? I really encourage people to just see their dentist for at least an evaluation of the needs, and talk with their dentist about their fears. I see so many patients that are really just relieved of many of their fears after just talking with their dentist and being assured that their needs are being respected. At Aspen Dental if the financial thing is a little bit of an issue and you don’t have insurance, our first visit with a free exam and X-rays allows you to come in and learn what dental needs you have and what ways we have as dentists to get you through that fear that is making it a reality.”
Candace Rose: When and where will the Healthy Mouth Movement be next, and how can people register for free dental care?
Dr. Clark Downey, DDS: “Sure, well the Healthy Mouth Movement will be going coast to coast throughout the 2014 year. You can easily learn about it two ways, if you go to our website at AspenDental.com. You can find out where the Mouth Mobile, which is our mobile dental RV is going to be or where the closest clinic will be offering their one free day of dental care, as well as how to become a patient on that free day, yourself. You can also, if you prefer a phone number you can call our toll free number, it’s 844- ASPEN- HMM which translates to (844 – 277 – 3646).”
Candace Rose: Do either of you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Beth Truett: “Well, I think that if people visit both websites, you’ll find both information as well as true access to care. To the extent that people like you continue to actually bring us on the air and give us the opportunity to talk about these issues, it’s a terrific service you’re providing, Candace, so thank you so much for shining the light on oral healthcare in America.”
*If you have any questions about Aspen Dental or how to get free dental, please contact them directly as I am not affiliated with them. Thank you!
This interview opportunity is being provided courtesy of Aspen Dental. Candace Rose was not compensated by the sponsor for this interview.