A program designed to put smiles on the faces of children in our state is now facing the reality of state budget cuts.
In year's past the dental office at Eastern Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry in Greenville is filled to capacity. This year, dozens of children did not show up.
Previously a public hygiene health liaison would help identify children in the most need for dental care. But that position was cut and it was up to the school system in Pitt County to help out.
While local and state lawmakers and state dignitaries stopped in to see the program in action, dentists are concerned about the future of this free service. Dr. Billy Williams says, "I think it's important to draw attention to the problem to make sure our legislators know that to realize there are kids that need help and anything we can do in the state of NC to get care and improve the access to care."
To date, more than 14,600 dental volunteers have provided over $10.5 million in oral care to more than 123,000 children across the state.