Missouri county struggles without dental care: 7 things to know

Community organizations are collaborating to fill gaps in oral healthcare for people living in a rural Missouri county, Ky3 reported Jan. 31.

Seven things to know:

1. There are no practicing dentists in Shannon County, Mo., which had a population of 7,031 as of April 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

2. Most county residents travel to neighboring counties for dental care, even as far as Springfield — which is about 128 miles from Shannon County — for specialized care, the news station reported.

3. Local health and public school officials are working together to expand dental services in the area in partnership with medical organizations in the state.

4. Corrie Mahan, an office support assistant at the Shannon County Health Center in Eminence, Mo., said the health center offers verbal dental screenings and recommends patients to visit a dentist in neighboring counties.

5. Ms. Mahan is also a nurse for the Winona School District and works with local providers to set up mobile dental clinics, such as Missouri Highlands Health Care in Ellington.

6. Karen White, CEO of Missouri Highlands Health Care, said her organization also works with long-term care facilities to provide care to its residents.

7. Ms. White added that the organizations would like to expand the mobile dental unit but are having difficulties recruiting a full-time dentist.

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