KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Leaders gathered in Kingsport on Thursday to celebrate the start of construction for a new dental training clinic.
The Kingsport Dental Clinic of the Appalachian Highlands will be a partnership between the City of Kingsport, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, East Tennessee State University, and Ballad Health. It has also involved business and government leaders.
The future clinic will be located at 117 W. Sevier Avenue.
When the facility opens, it will serve as both a training facility and a place for patients in need to receive free dental care. It will have 12 dental chairs onsite with plans to host mobile clinics throughout the region.
University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd said the clinic will fill a critical need as the region is short about 200 dentists.
“We have 20,000 people that don’t have access to quality dental care, so creating a dental clinic here not only will serve people in the near term but also hopefully long term, provide dentists that they’re going to be needing going forward,” Boyd said.
Boyd hopes to see the clinic open by August.