A Mississippi-based dentist is on a mission to eradicate socioeconomic barriers that impact access to quality dental care. Dr. LaMonica Davis Taylor has launched a mobile dentist facility to serve underprivileged youth in her community.
Dr. Taylor—who founded Smiles on Broadway Dental Care in Jackson—has taken her practice on the road to bring dental services to schools in neighborhoods where health care shortages exist. She and her team provide emergency and preventative dental care for nearly 100 students at each school. The Spelman alumna—who holds a degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Dentistry—says her awareness of the inequities prompted her to use her practice as an avenue to develop a solution.
“My mission is to provide quality oral health to children who would otherwise not see a dentist,” she shared in a statement. “It is fulfilling when our annual visits result in fewer referrals for restorative care. It means that our mission is being accomplished. We provide screenings, exams, cleanings, radiographs, prophylaxis and fluoride treatments. Emergency extractions are performed if needed. In addition to that, we provide oral health products—toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouth rinse—to every student we see. These are things that we take for granted, and it amazes us that many of the children do not have access to get these products or services.” She’s served youth in the Delta for seven years and is the country’s youngest mobile dental facility owner.
Efforts like the one Dr. Taylor is leading are needed as disparities in access to dental healthcare persist nationwide. Studies show over 18 million children living in low-income households went without dental care. Further research revealed that Mississippi has one of the worst patient-to-dentist ratios in the country.