Dental Connections a nonprofit dental clinic in Des Moines, Iowa, whose mission is to provide equal access to quality dental care and education through community outreach and meaningful patient connections.
We provide dental care through what we call the 3 C's: Clinic, Community and Classroom. Through these avenues of access to care, Dental Connections serves over 21,000 patients every year.
Dental Connections has been serving patients in its clinic since our inception in 1919. In any given year, the Main Clinic sees patients who are immigrants or refugees from 26 countries, and speak 35 different languages. Dental Connections has 13 staff that speak a total of six different languages. The clinic is able to remove the language barrier by use of interpreters and or the language line. This allows the non-English speaking patient to be fully aware of what is going to happen and puts them at greater ease during their appointment.
The Smile Squad travels to schools in the community to provide dental care to students on site. We work with schools all over the Des Moines metro to provide oral health education, dental screenings, and fluoride varnish applications to over 8,000 students, aged 2-14.
The Mobile Dental Clinic (MDC), a recreational vehicle (RV) retrofitted with two dental chairs is part of the Smile Squad and began traveling to schools to provide on-site dental care in 2003. A second RV was added in 2008. The MDC now makes visits to schools in eight school districts in the greater Des Moines area and Perry. Last year, the MDC visited over 100 schools, preschools, day care facilities, shelters, community events, businesses and churches.
Among the community events the MDC goes to is the Des Moines Homeless Veterans Stand Down. As many as 75 veterans are seen, and over 120 procedures are completed during the Stand Down Event each year all at NO COST to the veterans.
The Nolden Gentry Dental Clinic (NGDC), named for Des Moines attorney Nolden Gentry, is a comprehensive dental clinic with two dental chairs located in Scavo High School in Des Moines, Iowa. A partnership with Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS), the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, and the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation made this clinic possible, and its doors were opened in 2016.
Dental Connections provides dental care to any child within the DMPS district and provides transportation to and from the student's dental visit. Parental permission is obtained prior to a child's appointment, and a member of Dental Connections staff transports children to and from their elementary, middle, or high school to the Scavo location to have their dental work completed during the school day.
We have found this option for dental care to be extremely helpful for households with two working parents who struggle to take time off work to take their children to the dentist or for families with limited transportation options. Children are often able to receive treatment more quickly at this clinic than at our main clinic due to the fact that we exclusively treat DMPS students at this location.