The forthcoming center, a 12,600 square-foot building at 1110 North Dutton Ave, will house 14 dental chairs that will accommodate some 6,500 children and adults when it reaches full capacity, according to Alicia Montell, dental director of the new site.
“We are planning on having a pediatric dentist on staff from the beginning, which will help increase access for those children in need of more extensive dental treatment,” Ms. Montell said.
The Community Dental Center will have a total staff of about 25, including six dentists, two hygienists and support staff. The health centers closed escrow on the building, formerly Sutter Care at Home, in May of last year year and is close to completing the $1.5 million capital campaign to purchase the building. It also received a federal grant of $2.8 million to renovate and pay for equipment at the new dental health center. The contractor is Midstate Construction. The new center is expected to open by the end of February.
Santa Rosa Community Health Centers’ new dental center mirrors other efforts throughout the county, spurred largely by a 2011 report from the Sonoma County Task Force on Oral Health, which found wide disparities in access to quality dental care.
For example, the report found that only 15 dentists were available for 109,000 low income children. And more than 50 percent of the county’s third graders have experience tooth decay, outpacing the statewide average.
St. Joseph Health and Alliance Medical Center in Healdsburg are similarly working on expanding their dental offerings, while other FQHCs such as Marin Community Clinics, the Petaluma Health Center and Clinic Ole in Napa aim to ease the gap in dental care in those communities. Clinic Ole, for example, last year provided nearly 25,000 dental procedures for more than 9,000 adults and children, including emergency services and oral exams.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the Community Dental Center anticipates 20,000 patient visits per year, not 20,000 patients per year.
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