Dental aid measure advances

By PAUL LEIGHTTY State Journal Staff Writer Published:

The state House of Representatives could vote next week on a bill that would allow more free dental care in the state.

Jim Cecil, administrator of the state Department for Public Health's Oral Health Program, says the law could be beneficial to many people who can't afford to see a dentist.

Thirty-one percent of third and sixth-graders had untreated tooth decay in 2001, according to a survey conducted by UK, said Cecil. Eleven percent of children at those ages had urgent needs such as toothaches or an abscessed tooth, he said.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, would allow dental specialists to provide free general dental care such as filling cavities and teeth cleaning. Specialists cannot currently practice general dental care, by state law.

The bill began with a free dental clinic at the First Baptist Church on St. Clair Street, where ministers say they have a list 200 names long of people waiting for dental care.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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