Fifty students will be part of the first class of the East Carolina University School of Dentistry this fall. School officials aim to meet the state's demand for more dentists. North Carolina has the fourth lowest dentist-to-population ratio in the country. The school will open 10 clinics in rural areas across North Carolina. Three of those clinics will be in Sylva, Ahoskie and Elizabeth City. Associate Dean Francis Serio says 4th-year students will spend most of their time treating patients in those clinics.
"Hopefully some of them then after graduation will then return to these communities to practice, which will take care of some of the need for dental services in these areas that are currently not being served very well."
The clinics wills offer dental care at a lower cost than that of private practices.