NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Starting in July, New Hanover County residents ages 55 or older without dental insurance and who meet certain requirements will have the opportunity to receive dental care at no cost through New Hanover County’s new Older Adult Dental Program.
The program is now accepting applications and will provide an array of services including exams, X-rays, cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals, dentures and more.
“When we look at the older adult population in our community who are in need of medical help from our hospital or other emergency providers, one of the glaring things we’ve noticed is that many of the physical health issues they’re facing either started or is being made worse by an underlying oral care problem that wasn’t addressed,” said Senior Resource Center Director Amber Smith. “By providing preventative care or responding to the oral issue early on, we have an opportunity to get them the help they need before it becomes something bigger.”
This program was approved by the Board of Commissioners in December 2021, and the services are being coordinated by New Hanover County’s Senior Resource Center and Health and Human Services’ Public Health Department through a contract with Access Dental Health, Inc., a North Carolina-based non-profit with more than two decades of experience in mobile dentistry throughout the state.
To be eligible for this service, individuals must be 55 or older and a resident of New Hanover County with the ability to show proof of residency. They must also have an income that is below 200 percent of the poverty level and no current dental insurance, including a Medicare Advantage plan.
New Hanover County residents can apply by visiting the Older Adult Dental Program Application or by picking up paper copies of the application at the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center (2222 S. College Rd) or New Hanover County Health and Human Services (1650 Greenfield St).
“We’re very excited to be the first county in North Carolina with a free dentistry program focused solely on helping older adults,” said New Hanover County Health Director David Howard. “This is a significant gap in access to services and a known underlying factor in older adult health and emotional well-being. We are grateful to the Commissioners for making this a priority. Healthy seniors with confident smiles fully engaged in our community is a significant public health benefit for all of New Hanover County.”
For information on the program or on how to apply, visit Health.NHCgov.com.