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Action for Dental Health

Solutions: About CDHCs


Tens of millions of Americans lack adequate access to dental care.  Many of them suffer with untreated disease, and many more are at risk of disease, often because they don’t have access to preventative dental health care and education.  Trouble finding a dentist often has more to do with other community factors such as poverty, geography, language and cultural barriers, availability of childcare or transportation, rather than lack of dentists able to treat patients. 

In response to this lack of access to available dentists, the American Dental Association launched the Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) program in 2006 to provide community-based prevention, care coordination, and patient navigation to connect people who typically do not receive care from a dentist in underserved rural, urban and Native American communities. Bringing more people into the oral health system, CDHCs are currently working in 21 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. More than 100 students are currently in training, and educational programs to become a CDHC are available in all 50 states.

Additional CDHC Information

The ADA and state dental societies are working with state governments, the higher education community and the charitable and private sectors to create new CDHC programs. We believe that training CDHCs in greater numbers could dramatically improve oral health among people whose circumstances place them at greatest risk for untreated disease.

  • CDHC History
  • Connected to the Community
  • What Community Dental Health Coordinators Are Saying
  • Flexibility in Meeting the Needs of the Underserved
  • Moving Forward
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