HGTC dental clinics help thousands - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

HGTC dental clinics help thousands

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Free dental cleanings and fillings for kids and adults are offered through the HGTC dental program, which continues to expand clinics and technologies.

Dr. Phil Render is the Dean of Dental Sciences. He says this is one of the finest two-year dental facilities in the state. It offers students high-quality education and benefits the community as well.

In the program, senior MUSC dental students, general practice residents, and HGTC students train alongside one another. The goal is to give a real-world feel for what dentistry is like in a clinical setting.

Since opening the new building in the Market Common area back in 2012, program leaders continue to expand what’s being offered. Dr. Render says they add procedures and technologies they want to expose students to.

“We train for the area dentists here at Horry Georgetown Technical College,” says Render. “And our two service areas are Horry and Georgetown Counties. So we try to stay current with the latest technologies they’ll encounter in a private practice.”

For patients in both counties, there is a huge demand for this kind of help. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 12 and 14 percent of the state’s population does not have health insurance. And it’s even tougher for some to get dental coverage. And for many, if it were not for the help at clinics like this one, they would be forced to go the emergency room. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of ER visits are dental-related. Each year, the clinic helps thousands of low-income residents.

“Most of our patients do not have a regular dentist,” says Render. “They simply, in many cases, cannot afford dental care. So we view that as a community service to be able to provide that care,to break, if you will, the cycle of fear some have about going to the dentist.”

You do need to meet certain income requirements to have dental work done at the clinic. To be a patient at the clinic, you must fall below 200 percent of the national poverty level. For a family of four, Render says that is a combined household income of roughly $44,000.

There is a waiting list for adult patients, but Render says they work to meet patients’ needs as quickly as possible. Call 843-839-1070 to see if you or your child qualifies and to schedule a visit.

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