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

Local Start Dental has announced plans to begin a new dental clinic in Durham, N.C. in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry. The clinic is expected to open in 2021.

Local Start Dental, Inc., a recently formed non-profit organization, will be a learning and technology-based dental practice. 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.

Local Start Dental will operate in partnership with the UNC Adams School of Dentistry to staff the clinic, and will be financially supported by other business enterprises serving dental professionals. Adams School of Dentistry fourth-year dental students 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. 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.

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. The practice is strategically located in the heart of downtown Durham adjacent to the Durham Station Transportation Center, a block away from the American Tobacco Campus, and a short drive from Duke Hospitals and the VA.

Philanthropic fundraising has recently begun for Local Start Dental’s facility build-out costs, equipment and financial resources to ensure a successful launch and long-term sustainability. Several institutions and individuals have committed approximately 20 percent of the initial Capital Campaign so far, and remaining funds will be sought from North Carolina public and private sources. In addition to $1.0 million of current commitments to Phase I of the Campaign, Local Start Dental is seeking an additional $1.7 million to fund start-up costs. The “Phase II” goal of $3.1 million will include an Adams School of Dentistry faculty endowment and funding to reduce future occupancy obligations. For those interested in learning more about how they can provide financial assistance to Local Start Dental, please see contact information below.

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 & Implants 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.


Life-Changing Oral Care and Learning
Local Start Dental is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2019 with a two-pronged mission to promote healthy and productive lives for underserved adults through life-changing oral care, while also enhancing the clinical capabilities of dental students and practicing dentists. In partnership with the UNC Adams School of Dentistry, Local Start Dental will provide quality dentistry for veterans, the elderly, the working poor, and the homeless through a faculty-led student practice and practicing dentist volunteers. The clinic will offer full oral health services with state-of-the-art technology and a special focus on dentures, oral surgery and tooth-replacement implants. Services will be provided either free or discounted through Medicaid, VA benefits, or on a sliding-scale. Through a collaboration with Affordable Care, LLC, the clinic and its patients will also benefit from annual national continuing education sessions for practicing dentists focused on implant surgery and dentures. Fundraising currently is underway to enable Local Start Dental to open its first nonprofit clinic on Willard Street in Durham, NC, in early 2021.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Claude A. Adams, Jr. and Grace Phillips Adams School of Dentistry is transforming dentistry for better health. Founded in 1950, the UNC Adams School of Dentistry was the first dental school in the state and is regarded as a leader in oral health care and education. More than half the dentists in North Carolina are UNC trained, and UNC Adams School of Dentistry alumni live or work in 96 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, all 50 U.S. states and 27 countries. The school sees more than 90,000 patients each year in its clinics and provides care ranging from general needs to complex cases. Consistently ranked among the top schools for NIH funding, the school strongly supports the University’s research mission. Together, the school’s faculty, staff and students passionately serve their community and field through service within North Carolina totaling more than $3 million of in-kind care annually. The ultimate goal of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry is to be the global model for oral health education, in care and discovery. Click here to learn more.

Media Contacts: Local Start Dental, Inc.
Doug Brown,
President, Local Start Dental, Inc. 
Telephone:  919-740-3344 
Email:  Doug.Brown@localstartdental.org
Website: localstartdental.org

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry
Tiffany Brannan, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer
Telephone: 919-537-3260
Email: tiffany_brannan@unc.edu
Website: dentistry.unc.edu