Forward Movement on Dental Care

DSC01748The Morrison County Record recently posted an article that made my heart sing.

Little Falls has long suffered from a lack of dentistry for the poor. It’s not that we have no dentists in town; it’s that local dentists limit the number of patients they will see who have Medicaid or MinnesotaCare. Because Morrison County has 12.2% of its population in poverty, that’s a lot of people who have to find dental care elsewhere or do without it altogether.

My family has done both. We have driven to Deerwood to The Smile Center in order to find a dentist who will take MinnesotaCare. We have also gone years without seeing a dentist for even basic checkups. When you have to take off work for an entire day for a teeth cleaning, it’s the sort of task that gets put off.

There was one stretch of time a number of years ago when we were able to go to a dentist in Little Falls. Do you remember the Dental Van? It was actually a giant RV that parked near the courthouse when it was in town. In talking to the woman who owned it, I discovered that Little Falls was the Dental Van’s most popular service area in terms of the number of people who used it. It was a fabulous service for the community’s poor and I was sad when it went out of business.

When the Morrison County Record reported that there is a coalition of local nonprofits working to bring low-cost dentistry back to Morrison County, I was thrilled. Progress is being made on an issue that affects so many of the county’s residents. And that’s a good thing. It proves that Little Falls and Morrison County can make headway on solving problems.

Think about a long-entrenched problem facing Little Falls. What small action could we take toward solving this problem?