Starting next summer, Bay County residents with either Medicare or Medicaid will have access to affordable dental care.

According to health department officials, about a quarter of Bay County residents are on Medicare, while another quarter have Medicaid. Unfortunately, neither insurance provides quality dental coverage.

(photo by Michael Percha)

Enter My Community Dental Centers (MCDC), a non-profit dental care company with 34 other locations around the state, which is opening a new location at 2624 Center Ave. in Essexville.

Bay County Health Department Director Dr. Joel Strasz says there is definitely a need for such a service in the community.

“You have pretty much half the population that has a significant barrier to getting full access to dental services, and we see it every day at the health department. We get at least 3-5 calls per day of local residents calling and asking, looking for dental services because they are in great need.”

More than 1,900 visits were made to McLaren Bay Region Hospital’s emergency room in 2018 related to dental and oral health issues.

MCDC’s goal is to provide those services at an affordable cost to everyone. According to MCDC’s CEO Dr. Deborah Brown, dental health care is a right, not a privilege, the importance of which cannot be understated.

Brown says good dental health is important for overall health, including physical and mental.

“It is not just about the teeth. It is linked to your body and mental health. Think about the mom that wants a job and wants to support her children, but is unable to get a job because of the condition of her teeth.”

Brown says oral health has also been linked to diabetes, heart disease and pregnancy outcomes.

MCDC is accepting new patients. To register as a new patient, call (877) 313-6232.