The Fort Worth City Council voted Tuesday to take the lead in a nationwide push to replace all dental offices in the state, including in its own city.
The City Council’s decision, which was hailed by dental associations and local leaders, follows a similar move in Minneapolis, where the city council unanimously approved an ordinance last month to make dental offices available at community dental centers.
It comes as more and more dentists and other health professionals are being forced out of their homes by rising costs, a rising number of high-cost practices and a shrinking population of dental professionals, said Jennifer A. Gagnon, president of the Association of American Dental Hygienists.
She said that with fewer dentists, it’s not surprising that the number of dental procedures is on the rise.
But with fewer people coming to dental clinics, there are fewer people to work at dental offices, and so there is a shortage of care.
She also said that the growing number of providers of specialty care like x-rays and radiographs also can impact demand for dentists.
“We’re seeing a huge increase in the demand for specialty care and dental procedures, and that’s a problem,” Gagnons said.
The new dental offices will be in Fort Worth’s Central Business District, which is home to the Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin areas.
A portion of the new dental office will be located in the city’s Northside neighborhood, which includes the city center, where dental offices were historically located.
The move comes as the city has faced a number of closures and closures of the facilities where dentists work, including the Dallas and Fort Worth areas.
The Dallas area is in a “critical” period, Gagns said.
There are no new dental plans to be announced, she said.
In Fort Worth, DDS and the city also announced that they will open two dental offices each in the Dallas area.
A DDS spokeswoman, Melissa Smith, said that they are working with local and federal partners to secure funding for a second dental office in the region.
The DDS also is working with the city on a dental center expansion, said Smith, who declined to say when those plans might be announced.
Gascón said that while Fort Worth may be in a critical period, there is still plenty of opportunity to improve dental care and ensure access to dental care in the community.
The state is working to increase funding for dental services and other services, she added.
“The dental system has been a model of excellence for decades.
It is a great example of how we can improve the health of our community,” Gasconsaid.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.