The Center’s Integrated Care Program and Piedmont Health Services Dental Health Program collaborate to provide dental screenings for patients

Patients at the STEP Clinic at Carr Mill as well as those in the Department of Psychiatry, now have access to a free dental screening, thanks to a collaboration between Piedmont Health Services Dental Health Clinic and the Center’s Integrated Care program.

Patients at the STEP Clinic at Carr Mill as well as those in the Department of Psychiatry, now have access to a free dental screening, thanks to a collaboration between Piedmont Health Services Dental Health Clinic and the Center’s Integrated Care program. Three dentists from Piedmont Health Services rotate monthly at the clinic, providing 10-15 minute screenings for clients. If individuals need treatment after the initial screening, they have the option to see a Piedmont dentist or another local provider.  A Piedmont Health Services staff member is also available at the screenings to supply information about insurance and financial resources for dental care follow-up and can make an appointment for the client at Piedmont Health Services.  A SAMHSA grant (2014) funds the screenings.

Researchers have established the link between mental illness, oral health (gum disease and caries) and chronic medical issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Individuals with mental illness and untreated dental care are 2.7 times more likely to lose their teeth than other populations without mental illness. Providing patients dental screenings and access to oral care is an important extension of the integrated care model.

“Access to dental screening within the behavioral health setting as well as the opportunity to learn about affordable, high-quality dental care resources lowers the stigma around oral health care,” said Robin Reed, MD, MPH, director of Population Health and assistant professor of Psychiatry.

“We are fortunate to have the leadership of Piedmont Health Services as our partner in this new service,” Reed continued.

The Center’s Integrated Care Program already provides behavioral health and primary care services at the Carr Mill clinic. In addition to behavioral care, patients have access to treatment for chronic illness such as hypertension, diabetes, preventive care screenings such as pap smears, referrals for mammogram and other primary care services.