Low income and uninsured people in Onslow County can now receive dental treatment at a new clinic in Jacksonville. Jared Brumbaugh has more.
The free clinic, operated by the non-profit Onslow Community Outreach, officially opened to the public yesterday (Thursday). The volunteer staffed clinic will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays offering basic preventative care and extractions. Executive Director Theo McClammy says the new clinic will fill a need in the community, decreasing the number of people seeking dental treatment at Onslow Memorial Hospital and the free health clinic.
“Learning that we have annually 800 people going to the emergency department and that we have 2,000 people in our free clinic that have oral health needs, we were seeking grant resources to meet this community need.”
At the opening ceremony yesterday, the North Carolina Dental Society presented a $25,000 capacity building grant for start-up equipment and supplies. The clinic is housed in a donated 3,500 square foot building which was formerly a dentist office. McClammy says they’ve already had 125 patient visits since a soft launch in September.
“We anticipate very conservatively during the first 12 months of the clinic, we will help at minimum 400 uninsured people here in Onslow County who are low income and who have significant dental needs.”
Eventually, McClammy says they’ll be able to offer more complex dental procedures with the help of additional volunteer dentists and partnerships with local colleges and universities.