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Local Start Dental Business Model


female dental professional standing next to dental chair and smilingLocal Start Dental seeks to address a severe lack of affordable dental care for underserved patients, particularly for tooth replacement services. We believe this “service-and-training” model is a powerful combination that offers a solution to a complex problem, along with a sustainable financial plan that will lessen the need to depend solely on philanthropic assistance.

So how does it work?

Clinic and Facility

Our innovative, modern dental clinic is located on the ground floor of the new Willard Street Apartments, a Self-Help Credit Union affordable housing project in downtown Durham.

The clinic utilizes the latest dental technology, such as 3D printed dentures, which reduce the cost and time required for tooth replacement services while providing a prosthetic that is functionally superior to those made using traditional processes.

An infographic on Local Start Dental's clinic and facility. NEED: There is a large, unmet need for free and low-cost tooth replacement (dentures, partials, surgery and implants) services in the Triangle area. UNC DENTISTRY SCHOOL: UNC Adams School of Dentistry needs an off-campus denture and dental surgery clinic for its students to gain in-depth, live-surgery experience. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Ongoing professional development and training for licensed dentists from around the country. SUSTAINABILITY: The tuition paid by dentists for these continuing education courses provides a meaningful source of funding for the clinic's mission of providing free and discounted services to patients with limited funds.

It features:

  • 5,000 square foot facility
  • State-of-the-art technology
  • Carbon 3D printer for dentures
  • Cone Beam Imaging
  • Dentrix Enterprise Practice Management System
  • Digital design of prostheses
  • Ten operatories
  • Dental and design laboratories
  • Classroom space

Training and Education at Local Start Dental

We offer advanced professional development and clinical education training sessions for experienced dentists from North Carolina and around the country. Onsite, dentists will expand their skills under the close guidance of nationally recognized specialist educators (prosthodontists, periodontists, and oral surgeons).

North Carolina is one of only three states where dentists with out-of-state licenses can learn while providing volunteer services.

The Local Start Dental Business Model Represents Our Mission

The Mission of Local Start Dental is: “Restoring smiles and confidence for neighbors in need; while advancing the clinical skills of dental professionals.”

Our Mission informs everything we do – from the type of dental care we provide to the training and development opportunities for dental professionals to our community outreach initiatives.


Local Start Dental a state-of-the-art dental treatment and training center focused on high-quality tooth replacement services for all adults, including veterans, the elderly, and low-income or impoverished adults throughout the Triangle and, eventually, across North Carolina. 

  • To achieve this vision, Local Start Dental:
  • Cares for qualified patients at low or no cost through a closely supervised, innovative learning practicum for dental students and advanced training for practicing dentists in North Carolina and around the country.
  • Collaborates with area nonprofit, health, and government agencies to identify residents with serious oral health needs that cannot be met through existing organizations.
  • Ensures financial sustainability through a unique, integrated clinic model that combines continuing education tuition, discounted patient fees, Medicaid and VA payments, volunteer services and philanthropy to support annual operations.
  • Deploys a scalable, innovative clinic model that can be replicated in other communities.
Core Values:  
  • Collaboration: Creating community partnerships to identify and serve patients who are most in need
  • Learning: Providing progressive educational opportunities for dentists and dental students, equipping them with the most advanced skills available 
  • Innovation: Engaging the latest technology to provide patients and dental professionals the highest-quality experience possible
  • Care: Delivering life-changing, compassionate treatment in a welcoming and safe environment

Our Mission and Values in Action

In our first year of operation, we:

  • Provided dental care to over 1,200 patients in need
  • Served as a training ground for over 50 dental students
  • Collaborated with over 30 community partners
  • Engaged our Advisory Committee of 15 dental professionals

Local Start Dental believes that everyone deserves quality dental care. We are proud to be a part of a community of dental professionals committed to making this a reality.

Reach Out for More Information About the Local Start Dental Business Model

Thank you for your interest in learning more about how we operate. Perhaps you would like to get involved? Whether you wish to donate, refer a patient, explore training opportunities, or learn more about our advisory committee, we would love to hear from you.

You can reach us at 919.569.5533 or contact us online. We are happy to explain our model and our mission and answer any questions.