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Dental clinic in Ames opens to serve low-income population

Primary Health Care opened a dental clinic in Ames to help the underserved population get better access to good oral hygiene.

AMES, Iowa — For the underserved population in Story County, it's been about a year since they were able to go to the dentist.

That's because the clinic in the area stopped offering their services.

Primary Health Care recently opened a new dental clinic in Ames, which is attached to their medical clinic.   

"Our goal is to fill the need in the community," PHC Chief Operating Officer Nathan Simpson said. 

Since opening, the facility has been able to serve around 200 patients who are underinsured, uninsured or on Medicare or Medicaid.

"Oral health is paramount to their [patients] overall physical health," Simpson said. 

The clinic was started with the help of grants from Story County Asset and Delta Dental. 

The clinic's staff includes three dental assistants, two hygienists and one dentist. 

The clinic helps anyone who walks through their doors.

"We serve any patient regardless of their ability to pay," Simpson said. "We have the Health Benefits Specialist in each of our clinics that can help patients sign up for whatever insurance they may be eligible for, and if they're not eligible for insurance, then helping them sign up for that sliding fee scale."

PHC is a nonprofit organization and does accept donations, which can be submitted online, meaning residents can donate to help others in their community. 

"Those donations can really be for anything," Simpson said. "That enables us to offer services that we either offer currently or perspective services that we're thinking about offering so it's really just a way for us to do more for the community."

To get dental services at the clinic, a person can contact them and set up a time to be seen. 

If a person has an appointment at both the dental office and the medical cinic in the same day, patients are only a few steps apart.

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