Jackson Free Clinic to expand facility

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 JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A lack of dental care access plus insurance to cover it is a problem overlooked sometimes in Mississippi. But, one non-profit in Jackson is making big expansions to give to people in need who are worried about losing their teeth.

Prior to COVID-19, every single one of our appointment times had been booked out all the way until May 2020.

Dependent on donations and volunteers from UMMC students, the Jackson Free Clinic has been the only outlet for many to receive quality dental check ups and care without charge.

“We have phone calls on a regular basis of people just crying to us for the amount of pain that they’re in. They’re struggling, you can definitely tell by their voice,” said Collin Peterson, Dental Director of Jackson Free Clinic.

Open three Saturdays a month, the Jackson Free Clinic treats up to 18 patients in a day.

“Mississippi ranks sixth in the nation for dentialism, so it’s our hope that this clinic will be a large step towards dissipating that oral health disparity that permeates our state,” said Katelyn Allen, a fourth year dental student.

“Right now, we just do acute needs and emergency procedures. Mainly people who are in pain. We just kind of take that source away. They usually come back a week or month later with the same problem because there’s no comprehensive care there. ” said Peterson.

But Jackson Free Clinic is looking to broaden their offices by expanding their building next door to open up more treatment options for low-income households.

“Replacing those teeth we’ve taken out in the past with dentures and partials. We’ll be able to save the front teeth that people come in with pain. We’ll be able to provide root canals for those teeth, we’ll be able to provide crown and bridge for those patients,” said Allen.

This move will also triple if Jackson Free Clinic number in dental care rooms, where 140 UMMC dental student train on patients each year.

Over the next year, directors with the clinic plan to reach out to legislators once again for grant money and ways of funding to grow their project.

To donate to the Jackson Free Health Clinic, visit here.

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