Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Deborah Dotson

Thesis Professor Department

Allied Health Sciences

Thesis Reader(s)

Tabitha Fair Laraine Powers


This qualitative study focused on the dental disparities in Blount County, TN and sought to determine if there are enough dental clinics within the dental safety net. Interviews were conducted with 18 individuals who were either service providers or clients of organizations such as the Salvation Army, Alcoa Good Samaritan Clinic, the local health department, Trinity Dental Clinic, Volunteer Ministry Center, Remote Area Medical, and Blount Memorial Hospital. Inclusion criteria for clients included: homeless or living below the poverty level, uninsured, 18 to 65 years of age, has not seen a dentist in the past year and currently suffering a dental problem. The most obvious common theme among the 11 clients interviewed was that they struggle with getting dental care. Patients were asked when the last time they had seen a dentist and they answered years ago, most over ten years ago. Eight of the eleven clients did not know of any facilities they could go to. Cost was the main reason for these clients not seeking dental care. Two dentists were asked about the reasons for disparities in dental care. The major common themes between the dentists were cost, access to care, and education. All five case managers said that they had clients experiencing dental needs ranging from a simple cleaning to an abscess. Currently in Blount County only one dental clinic serves over 17,000 residents who live in poverty.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.