Free Dental Clinic Opens in Rochester

Posted at: 01/09/2013 7:35 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- For low income families dental care can often fall low on the list of priorities. But a new non-profit dental clinic in Rochester is trying to change that.

While the dentist’s chair can be frightening it can also change lives.

"It's been ten years," said Lynn Finlayson.

For Finlayson of Winona a trip to the Dentist office has not been a priority.

"Because of our inability to pay," said Finlayson.

When Finlayson heard there was a new non-profit dental clinic in Rochester she jumped at the opportunity.

Community Dental Care opened its new Rochester location at the end of December. It operates two other locations in the Twin Cities with the goal of helping anyone in need. Whether that means paying on a sliding fee, accepting all state programs, or figuring out a way to help those without any coverage. 

"We do whatever we can, we don't turn anybody away if they are in pain we're here to help," said Community Dental Care manager Tiffany Young.

With no other full time dental clinics in the area they are hopeful they can change the lives of many.

"With dental work and dental care if we can get preventative education a lot of that major work can be avoided," said Young.

They have six operatories and so far they've had anywhere from 30 to 50 patients per day. But they were expecting to only have about twelve.

Before they even opened the clinic had a waiting list of more than 500.

"It's really rewarding to see someone walk out with a whole new idea of what they are going to be doing the rest of their lives as far as dental care," said Young.

"It's nice because they are able to provide us with our next appointment right away," said Finlayson.

Instead of ten years Lynn Finlayson says she will now make a trip to the dentist every six months.

"I'm grateful these guys decided to come down to Rochester."

The clinic is open Monday through Friday and is located in RCTC’s Heintz Center.

Another free dental service is being made available statewide soon. The "Give Kids a Smile" event will take place February first and second. Hundreds of clinics statewide take part.