Limited Access to Dentists Costs Utah Lives

Recently poverty advocates from across the state of Utah met to discuss the most pressing issues surrounding poverty. On the agenda was the urgent need for dental care among the poorest Utahns.  An alarming number of residents don’t have access to any dental care. A simple toothache can lead to fatigue, a lowered immune system and worse. An untreated cavity is an infection that left ignored, can lead to death. A 12 year old boy’s death in 2007 from an abscessed tooth gained national attention. His mother was unable to get her son to a dentist after her Medicaid lapsed. Her son died from a brain infection caused by his infected tooth.

Lack of regular dental cleanings has been linked to health problems such as  heart disease,  stroke and diabetes. These diseases are expensive to treat so it is vital that people schedule regular cleanings and check ups to a dentist’s office. There is a long list of dental providers at the end of this article but there can be multiple barriers to gaining access to a health provider. Besides availability transportation, organizational skills (so someone misses and appointment), disabilities, lack of a phone, and fear can all be barriers to access to dental care.

Fortunately children and adults on Utah State health care programs have access to dentists although sometimes it is difficult to find a provider who accepts Medicaid, CHIP, or PCN. Adults who aren’t on Medicaid and who may find themselves in a poor financial situation due to the economic downturn. A large number of children and adults in Utah have untreated tooth decay. A CDC survey in 2008 estimated that over 28% of Utahns had not seen a dentist in the last year.

Because of health care reforms many people living in poverty without access to medical care will be covered by Medicaid by 2014 and will have some access to dental services. It is always less expensive to pay for preventative dental care than it is to pay for emergency treatment.

In the state of Utah adults and children without dental care have few options. A small number of non-profits provide some limited assistance mostly to the homeless. (See list at end of article) A few dental clinics offer services based upon a sliding scale. In many cases the resources for tooth preservation aren’t there and patients have no option but to have an infected tooth pulled. Some dental schools put people on a waiting list for services. Many people give up trying to find no or low cost care. It is clear that it would be cost-effective if dental care were offered to more Utah adults and children whose families are poor but may miss the cutoff for CHIP.

In any case if you or a loved one needs dental care don’t ignore the problem before it’s too late. Call providers, call 211, call dentists until you find help. Ignoring dental problems can cost you your health and even your life. Don’t give up until you find the help.


Bear River Health Department (435) 792-6500

Click Here For Website

Cache County

Cache Valley Community Health Clinic
(435) 752-7060
272 1/2 North Main, Logan
Low-income uninsured (open only on Tuesday and Thursday evenings)

Rich County

Bear Lake Community Health Center Dental Clinic
(435) 946-3660
325 W. Logan Highway, #3, Garden City
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, sliding fee scale

Central Utah Public Health Department (435) 896-5451

Davis County Health Department (801) 451-3340

Davis County

Midtown Community Health Center
(801) 543-3327
360 South Fort Lane, Suite 3A, Layton
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, sliding scale

Salt Lake Valley Health Department (801) 468-2700

Salt Lake County

All Smiles Family Dentistry
(801) 288-0039 or (801) 671-8714
445 East 4500 South, Salt Lake City

Central City Community Health Center Dental Clinic
(801) 325-9538
461 South 400 East, Salt Lake City
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, sliding fee scale

Eagle Gate Dental Clinic
(801) 333-8138
5618 S Green Street(360 West), Murray
Low income

Family Dental Plan at Ellis Shipp
(801) 969-8243
4535 South 5600 West, West Valley City
Medicaid, PCN, and CHIP

Family Dental Plan
(801) 468-0342
3195 South Main, 2nd floor, Salt Lake City
Medicaid, PCN, and CHIP

Granite Family Dental Plan Clinic
(801) 646-4377
2500 S State Street Suite 404, Salt Lake City
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP

Primary Children’s Medical Center Dental Clinic
(801) 588-3614
100 North Medical Drive, suite 3550, Salt Lake City
Medicaid insured or uninsured – limited to children under fourteen
years of age with special needs or disabilities with extensive dental
treatment needs. Low income uninsured children may apply for Primary
Services which will cover their dental services. Contact Ellen Bennion
at (801) 588-3622

Salt Lake Community College Dental Hygiene Program
(801) 957-2710
Jordan Campus, 3491 W. Wights Fort Road (90th South), Salt Lake City
Preventive services for adults and children.
Medicaid reduced fee schedule

Salt Lake Donated Dental Services
(801) 983-0345
1383 S 900 W, Salt Lake City (effective January 2008)
Homeless, at or below 100% of poverty and Medicaid

South Valley Dental Associates
(801) 566-1873
9217 South Redwood Road, Suite B, West Jordan
CHIP, 10% discount for uninsured patients

Stephan D. Ratcliff Community Health Center Dental Clinic
(801) 328-5756
1365 West 1000 North, Salt Lake City
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, sliding fee scale

University Health Care Dental Clinic
(801) 581-2220
50 North Medical Drive, Clinic 7, Salt Lake City
Medicaid, PCN, and CHIP (adults with disabilities)
For patients without insurance, 10% discount for cash
or credit card and is collected at the appointment

University Health Care Dental Clinic at Greenwood Health Center
(801) 213-9530
7495 South State, Midvale
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Value Care
Children and adults. 30% discount for cash, 25% discount for credit
card payment for patients without dental insurance

Southeastern Health Department (435) 637-3671

Emery County

Green River Medical Center
(435) 564-3434
305 West Main Street, Green River
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, low-income uninsured below 200% of poverty

San Juan County

Montezuma Creek Community Health Dental Clinic
(435) 651-3291
East Highway 262, Montezuma Creek
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, sliding fee scale

Monument Valley Health Clinic
(435) 727-3242
4 Rockdoor Canyon Road, Monument Valley
Medicaid, CHIP, Navajo Nation Insurance, Delta Dental,
Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Mail Handlers
Sliding fee scale for uninsured Utah residents

Southwest Utah Public Health Department (435) 673-3528

Washington County

Family Dental Plan
(435) 652-3806
321 North Mall Drive, Suite M 101, St. George
Medicaid, PCN and CHIP

Dixie College Dental Hygiene Program
(435) 652-7874
Jennings Technology Bldg., 225 South 700 East, Rm 107, St. George
Preventive services for adults and children. Medicaid, reduced fee schedule
Southwest Utah Community Health Center Dental Clinic
(435) 986-2565
168 North 100 East, St. George
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, sliding fee scale

The Doctors’ Free Clinic of St. George
(435) 656-0022
1036 E. Riverside Drive, St. George
Patients below 150% of federal poverty level and without dental insurance

Summit County Public Health Department (435) 336-3222

Tooele County Health Department (435) 843-2300

Tooele County

Tooele Healthy Smiles Dental Clinic
(435) 277-2430
151 N. Main, Tooele
Medicaid, PCN, sliding fee scale for low-income uninsured

Tri-County Health Department (435) 781-5475

Uintah County

Fort Duchesne Indian Health Center Dental Clinic
(435) 725-6813
6822 East 1000 South, Fort Duchesne
Enrolled members of a Federally recognized Indian tribe or
show desendency

Tri-County Dental Clinic
(435) 781-0875
198 West 200 North, Vernal
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, low-income uninsured below 200% of poverty

Utah County Health Department (801) 851-7000

Utah County

Community Health Connect
(801) 818-3015
250 West Center Street, Suite 112, Provo
Low-income uninsured adults and children

Family Dental Plan
(801) 371-1024
150 E. Center St., Suite 1100, Provo
Medicaid, PCN, and CHIP

Mountain Ridge Dental
(801) 224-7182
1256 South State Street, Suite 103, Orem
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, Dental Select Gold, 20% discount for low-income uninsured

Mall Dental Group
(801) 426-6255
575 E. University Park Way, I-163, Orem
Medicaid to18 years of age, PCN, and CHIP

Mountainlands Community Health Center Dental Clinic
(801) 374-9660
215 West 100 North, Provo
Medicaid, PCN, CHIP, sliding fee scale

Utah Valley State College Dental Hygiene Program
(801) 863-7536
800 West University Park Way, Orem
Preventive services for adults and children. $10.00 fee

Wasatch County Health Department (435) 654-2700

Wasatch County

Wasatch Family Dental Clinic
(435) 654-2700
55 South 500 East, Heber City
Medicaid, PCN and Medicaid rate for low-income uninsured

Weber – Morgan Health Department (801) 399-7100

Weber County

Family Dental Plan
(801) 394-4495
298 24th Street, Suite 360, Ogden
Medicaid, PCN, and CHIP

Midtown Community Heath Center
(801) 626-7169
Weber State University, Ogden
Mon-Thurs 8:00-6:00
Medicaid, PCN, and CHIP, sliding scale

Ogden Rescue Mission Dental Clinic
(801) 394-4161
2775 Wall Avenue, Ogden
Low income, uninsured (one afternoon a week)

Weber State University Dental Hygiene Program
(801) 626-6130
3920 University Circle, Ogden
Preventive services for adults and children
Medicaid, reduced fee schedule

United Way Dental Program for Disadvantaged Children
(801) 399-5584 ext 102
443 27th Street, Ogden
Dental services for needy children under eighteen years of age who
are not eligible for other assistance

For up-to-date information call the 211 Info Bank’s Utah Family Health Line at 1-800-472-4716 or by dialing 211.


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