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Community Dental Health Coordinator Broadens Preventive Care in Southern Arizona

MiQuel McRae, RDH, CDHC, is ensuring that rural Arizona children receive dental care.

MiQuel McRae, RDH, CDHC, was a dental hygienist with 16 years of experience when she attended a continuing education program in 2015 that focused on disparities in oral health within the state of Arizona, particularly in the rural county of Greenlee.

A local to Greenlee County, McRae thought she may be the only attendee who knew where this area was located, and she most definitely wanted to make a difference in her rural, underserved region. The presentation discussed the community dental health coordinator (CDHC) certification as a strategy to address barriers to dental care.

Created by the American Dental Association, the CDHC is designed to work in underserved areas and has expertise in advocacy and outreach, communication and cultural competence, motivational interviewing, legal and ethical issues, and payment options for dental care.1

Realizing that a CDHC program was offered at the nearby Rio Salado Community College in Tempe, McRae signed up. As part of the program’s required community-based project, McCrae founded Tooth B.U.D.D.S., or “bringing understanding of dental disease to schools” in 2017.

Tooth B.U.D.D.S. provides Greenlee County school children with preventive dental services via a mobile dental clinic. The van is staffed by affiliated practice dental hygienists who also work diligently to connect kids with dental homes so they can continue to access professional dental care throughout their lives.

McRae has expanded her skillset to include grant writing as Tooth B.U.D.D.S. has been funded by the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties, Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation, and the Arizona Community Foundation.

In 2022, Tooth B.U.D.D.S. provided preventive dental services—including prophylaxes, screenings, and fluoride varnish applications—to more 1,000 students; placed more than 4,000 sealants; arrested more than 780 caries lesions with silver diamine fluoride; and administered more than 600 restorations using the silver modified atraumatic restorative technique.2


  1. American Dental Association. Community Dental Health Coordinator.
  2. Eastern Arizona Courier. Tax Credit Supports Dental Hygiene Care for Kids.
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