DDS, Faculty and Staff, Outreach

Local Start Dental to Establish New Free and Low-Cost Dental Clinic in Partnership with UNC Dentistry

Local Start Dental, Inc., a recently formed non-profit organizationannounced plans to begin a new dental clinic in Durham, North Carolina, in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry. The clinic is expected to open in 2021 

The practice will offer a wide range of adult dental services, with a focus on providing dentures, oral surgery and dental implants to thousands of area veterans, elderly and other underserved patients. Dental services will be either free, discounted or reimbursed through Medicaid/VA programs, and are designed to be complementary to the offerings of existing Durham-based charitable practices. 

Fourthyear dental students from the Adams School of Dentistry will work in rotation at the Durham practice to receive hands-on, clinical experience under the guidance of UNC faculty. Local Start Dental will be led by a paid full-time clinical director, supplemented by part-time volunteer dentists, hygienists, and support staff from the community. 

The 5,000-square-foot practice facility will be on the ground floor of the Willard Street Apartments building. This 82-unit affordable housing project is currently under construction and is being jointly developed by non-profits DHIC and Self-Help, with significant financial support from Duke University, the AJ Fletcher Foundation, and the City of Durham. 

Doug Brown, President of Local Start Dental, indicated that, “Our name stands for: Life-Changing Oral Care and Learning, which accurately describes the benefits that this practice will provide. Untreated dental issues create significant health, societal and economic challenges for thousands of individuals, and Local Start Dental’s services will indeed be life-changing for many; most notably, the area’s large population of veterans.” 

“This is an exceptional opportunity for our students, residents and faculty to passionately serve our community and have an even greater impact in the Triangle,” agreed Scott S. De Rossi, DMD, MBA, dean and professor of the Adams School of Dentistry. “We are excited to work with Local Start Dental on this important initiative that allows an underserved population in the Triangle to have access to quality oral health care.”  

Local Start Dental will feature a faculty-led student practice to be staffed by the Adams School of Dentistry, eight operatories, and a state-of-the-art 3D printing laboratory that will be provided by Carbon 3D, Inc. In collaboration with Affordable Care LLC, a Morrisville-based company that provides business services to Affordable Dentures and Implant and DDS Dentures + Implant Solutions practices across the country, Local Start Dental will host periodic continuing professional education sessions for practicing dentists. The fees from these sessions paid will also help fund Local Start Dental’s annual operating costs.