Community Dental Care has opened its latest clinic in Rochester, Minn, expanding access to oral health services for more than 10,000 Southeastern Minnesota children and adults in need. The clinic broke ground last September after receiving a $1 million donation from the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation.
The clinic provided care for 58 patients on its first day of operation during its unofficial opening in August. Since then, it has seen more than 1,200 patients, 95% of whom are on public programs or uninsured. Also, 35% were children, 14% were emergency situations, and 42% were new patients. Patient wait time has decreased since the clinic’s opening as well.
“It has been a journey, and we still have five more dental patient rooms to equip, but we are almost there. I thank all of you who helped make this clinic possible. I want to make this pledge to you, the Rochester community, that we will serve our patients with compassion and care and give them the very best dental care possible,” said Vacharee Peterson, DDS, CEO of Community Dental Care.
When all 18 patient rooms are equipped and fully staffed, the clinic will provide oral health services for 10,000 patients annually, with an estimated 30,000 annual dental appointments. The clinic will be the headquarters for oral health services and community oral health programs throughout Southeast Minnesota.
In addition to general dental services, Community Dental Care will offer community-based preventive education programs for children and parents, training for dental professional students, and 35 new full-time professional jobs for local residents. It currently has six dental patient rooms and continues to take new appointments.
“We are so happy to support this project, which will create jobs, bring accessible dental care to an area of the state that has demonstrated a significant need, and to do so with a partner who has a proven track record of meeting those needs,” said Joe Lally, executive director of the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation.
“We know that oral health is key to overall health, and we believe that every single person deserves a healthy smile,” Lally said. “This new clinic will make a substantial impact for thousands of Minnesotans who otherwise would not have access to dental care.”