West Virginia has one of the lowest percentages of adults who go to a dentist.Only three states — Oklahoma, Mississippi and Arkansas — had fewer people who reported that they went to a dentist’s office last year, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control.Dentists and oral health advocates say that people who visit a dentist are more likely to have good dental hygiene.The CDC’s data show that 61.4 percent of West Virginians 18 and older went to a dentist last year, down from 62.5 percent in 2004.
“It goes back to education and a cultural thing,” said Richard Stevens, executive director of the West Virginia Dental Association. “Most people aren’t well-informed about the importance of oral health care. A lot of people have resigned themselves that they’ll just wind up with dentures when they get older.”State oral health advocates said West Virginia’s “backslide” also raises concerns about the future of children’s dental health. Parents who go to a dentist are more likely to take their kids to one.“Parents are the ones who make the appointments,” said Gina Sharps, co-director of West Virginia University’s Oral Health Project. “It’s amazing that we have people with dental coverage who are not using it. People are still not getting the message.”Among West Virginia’s poorest residents — those who make less than $15,000 a year — only one of every three people saw a dentist.Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of West Virginia’s highest wage earners — making more than $50,000 a year — went to a dentist at least once last year.West Virginia women were more likely to go in for a check-up than men. Nearly 64 percent of women visited a dentist last year, while 59 percent of men did, according to the CDC.Connecticut and Rhode Island had the highest dental visitation rates with about 80 percent reporting they went to a dentist.The national average was 70.3 percent — the same as in 2004.West Virginia lawmakers plan to consider recommendations to improve the state’s oral health in the upcoming legislative session, which starts Jan. 9.West Virginia leads the nation in the percentage of adults who have had at least one permanent tooth pulled because of infection or decay, as well as the percentage of adults 65 and older with no teeth.Need a dentist?
Following is a list of names, addresses and phone numbers for area dentists and dental services.Community health centers with onsite dental services(Sliding fees based on income; Medicaid accepted.)
Clay-Battelle Community Health Services Assoc.P.O. Box 725861 Mason Dixon Highway
Blacksville, WV 26521-0072(304) 432-8211E.A. Hawse Health CenterP.O. Box 9717978 W.Va. 55Baker, WV 26801-0097(304) 897-5915Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center186 Hospital DriveGrantsville, WV 26147(304) 354-9244Preston-Taylor Community Health Centers711 N. PikeGrafton, WV 26354-0399(304) 265-4200Tug River Health AssociationP.O. Box 507Route 103Gary, WV 24836-0507(304) 448-2101Valley Health-Fort Gay3329 Bridge St.Fort Gay, WV 25514(304) 648-5433Valley Health-Harts22 Fleming DriveHarts, WV 25524(304) 855-4595Valley Health-Upper Kanawha408 Alexander St.Cedar Grove, WV 25309(304) 595-3282Valley Health-Westmoreland2908 Auburn RoadHuntington, WV 25704(304) 781-5800Wirt County Health Services AssociationP.O. Box 6091301 Elizabeth PikeElizabeth, WV 26164(304) 275-8780FamilyCare1701 Fifth Ave., Box 5Charleston, WV 25312(304) 414-4499University clinics (Fees charged)
West Virginia University Dental ClinicsWVU Dental Group PracticeHealth Sciences NorthRobert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of WVMorgantown, WV 26506(304) 293-6208West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Charleston DivisionWVU Health Sciences Center-Charleston Division3110 MacCorkle Ave. S.E.Charleston, WV 25304(304) 347-1300Free clinics with onsite dental services(Free services or small donation accepted)
West Virginia Health Right1520 Washington St. E.Charleston, WV 25311(304) 343-7000Mylan Puskar Health RightP.O. Box 1519Morgantown, WV 26507(304) 292-8234 Ext 1Ebenezer Medical Outreach, Inc.1448 Tenth Ave.Huntington, WV 25701(304) 529-0753Susan Dew Hoff Memorial Clinic925 Liberty St.West Milford, WV 26451(304) 745-3700Private dentists(Will refer you to at least two practicing dentists in your area)
West Virginia Dental Association2016 1/2 Kanawha Blvd., EastCharleston, WV 25311(304) 344-5246Same-day, low-cost dentures
Allcare Dental & Dentures112 RHL BoulevardDudley Farms PlazaCharleston, WV 25309(304) 744-1500Affordable Dentures2-A Mall RoadBarboursville, WV 25504(304) 733-5500Affordable Dentures106 Tolley DriveBridgeport, WV 26330(304) 842-1995Affordable DenturesRocky Gap, VA(276) 928-1520The Denture Store632 13th St.Huntington, WV 25701(304) 529-6636State programs
WVDHHR Office of Maternal, Child and Family HealthOral Health Program350 Capitol St., Room 427Charleston, WV 25301(800) 642-9704Children only
Kanawha Dental Health CouncilChandler Elementary School1900 School StreetCharleston, WV 25312(304) 348-6613To contact staff writer Eric Eyre, use e-mail or call 348-4869.