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Local dentist helping uninsured patients

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)--A Chattanooga dentist is changing the way she does business and her idea is catching on nationally. It's a plan to provide free and low-cost dental care to needy families.

Dr. Angela Lunn says after practicing dentistry in Chattanooga for years she was sick of seeing people in severe pain because they couldn't afford dental care.

So, she set out to change that.

She teamed up with other dentists across the country to come up with a plan to get low income, un-insured patients the care they need.

Gene Blair has no insurance. Teeth cleanings and check-ups aren't cheap, but that's not a problem for him anymore.

"I don't want my teeth to fall out," Blair says.

He's one of more than a hundred patients who qualify for Dr. Lunn's Quality Dental Plan.

It's a national initiative to offer free exams, cleanings and low-cost work to people who otherwise couldn't afford it.

"They felt their dental care was something that was financially out of their reach," Dr. Lunn says.

"So far I haven't had any work done but I'm expecting to have some and I will save money doing that," Blair says.

Dr. Lunn says after really looking at the books, she realized she could take this project on without her business losing money.

"I know that if I can reduce the middle man cost, that I can put those savings back in their pockets," she says.

She's not only bringing in patients who couldn't afford out of pocket treatment, but also giving them the ability to be treated before their health problems get worse.

Dr. Lunn is hoping it catches on.

"I certainly hope that more people will be interested in their local communities for a way for their patients to receive affordable dental health care," Dr. Lunn says.

It's lifting a weight off Mr. Blair's chest and putting a smile on his face.

When it comes to getting work done, like filling cavities, patients do have to pay under the plan, but it's at a discounted price. The overall plan requires a yearly membership fee.

Dozens of other dentists across the country are joining the Quality Dental Plan movement, but Dr. Lunn says she's the only one in Tennessee so far.

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