PATHS expanding dental care to better serve children

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DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - Piedmont Access to Health Services (PATHS) in Danville is one of only four health organizations in the Commonwealth to receive part of a roughly $156 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help expand dental care.

"What we've discovered in health care over the last five or six years is that dental care is critical to your health. It can lead to heart disease and not to mention gum disease and all kinds of issues," explained PATHS CEO Kay Crane.

More than 400 health organizations nationwide received money from the grant.

PATHS received $350,000 and will use that money to start a dental clinic in the office in Boydton and to hire a pediatric dentist who will work at both the Boydton and Danville offices.

Currently, PATHS does not have a pediatric dentist and any children needing dental work have to see a general dentist. Crane says the office in Boydton sees two to three children a day, while the office in Danville sees only two to three children a week. She expects those numbers to increase once the pediatric dentist starts.

"We're very excited to find out that there's going to be a pediatric dentist here at PATHS," said Ashley Cox, a mother of a 14-month-old. She said having a pediatric dentist at PATHS will hopefully help her daughter's doctors better understand her daughter's needs.

"A lot of times," Cox explained, "when you have your health care providers all in one place, they can communicate about your health care needs."

PATHS has 120 days to get the dental clinic up and running in Boydton and hire a pediatric dentist.

Crane says some potential candidates have already been identified, and the goal is to have the dental clinic open and the dentist working by September 1.

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