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About Local Start Dental


Meet the team photoAt Local Start Dental, we dedicate ourselves to serving North Carolina and the Triangle area. Our mission and vision are to restore smiles and confidence for underserved neighbors while advancing the clinical skills of dental students and professionals. In this way, we both provide for and reinvest in our community.

If you or a loved one are seeking dentures or dental implants, Local Start Dental can assess the situation and suggest the best treatment. We work with all income levels and have various payment options, as well as working with Medicaid and the VA or VA Benefits. We want to ensure that everyone can have a beautiful smile. Call 919.569.5533 to learn more about our services.

About Local Start Dental in Durham, NC – Seeing a Need, Meeting a Challenge

The Local Start Dental story began in 2018 as a conversation between Doug Brown (currently Local Start Dental’s Chairman of the Board), and the Dean of UNC’s Adams School of Dentistry.

Together, they saw a challenge: Most patients in need have very few options for obtaining dentures and tooth replacement services, while dental students training at the UNC clinic in Chapel Hill do not have enough patients with missing teeth to adequately learn denture techniques. So they were inspired to consider creative new ways to combine advanced clinical training for dental students and professionals and use that training to meet the dental health needs of underserved populations. Thus, Local Start Dental was born.


Local Start Dental Services Are Needed in North Carolina

Consider these statistics for North Carolina:

  • Approximately 30% of all North Carolinians over age 65 have no natural teeth.
  • North Carolina has more than twice the national rate of costly emergency room dental visits.
  • The patients generally receive treatment only for pain and not for the underlying causes of dental distress.
  • Adults with missing teeth are often treated as second-class citizens, facing economic barriers and health-related problems. Adults missing only a few teeth often encounter difficulties finding jobs commensurate with their abilities and are relegated to low-paying positions or unemployment.
  • Untreated oral infections and decay promote a multi-year deterioration process, often leading to infection in other areas of the body and larger health issues such as diabetes and stroke. Yet, despite the significant public health implications of oral disease, only 45% of North Carolina dentists accept Medicaid, and Medicare does not cover dental services.

Why Choose Local Start Dental?

We are committed to staying and growing with the community of Durham and the surrounding area. In fact, the following graphic illustrates this projected growth. Many of these goals have already been met, but we are constantly innovating and finding new ways to educate and serve.


Four Things About Local Start Dental That Make It Unique

  • Local Start Dental is a national clinical training center that provides free and discounted care to qualified patients in the Triangle and beyond (Local Start is a 501 c3 not-for-profit organization)
  • The program includes a UNC Adams School of Dentistry (ASOD) student practice, and advanced continuing education for licensed dentists from across the country, with a focus on implants, oral surgery, and high-quality dentures fabricated using digital workflows
  • Tuition from courses, in addition to Medicaid/VA payments, sliding-scale fees, and philanthropy, have created a sustainable financial model
  •  Providers include a full-time practice clinical director, a general dentist, UNC ASOD dental students, a hygienist and team of dental assistants

Mission, Vision, Core Values


Restoring smiles and confidence for our underserved neighbors while advancing clinical skills of dental professionals


Our vision is to be 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 reimbursements, 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

Reach Out to Learn More About Local Start Dental in Durham, NC

If you or someone you know is struggling with missing teeth and the accompanying loss of confidence and societal stigma that accompanies the condition, help is available. Local Start Dental is committed to helping all members of our community – regardless of income – that require customized life-changing tooth replacement solutions. Call 919.569.5533 or contact us online to book an appointment or learn more about our services.