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Clinic provides dental care for needy

Dental care is almost a luxury for low- to medium-income families these days, which has caused a number of local dentists to band together and address the situation.

Friday, the Sierra Nevada Children’s Dental Services Clinic kicked off in Grass Valley, with another set of free screenings planned for Feb. 21. The goal of the clinic is to open the week of March 15 for one day a week in Grass Valley and three days a week at the Sierra Family Medical Clinic on the San Juan Ridge. Firm dates have not been set.

“We’ll be taking MediCal and Healthy Families patients, which no one else does in Nevada County,” said Dr. Lindsey Robinson, an organizer of the clinics.



Most dentists do not accept patients from those state health programs “because they’re so horribly underfunded” and costly to the dentists, Robinson said.

The nonprofit clinics will also accept patients who are uninsured. The clinics were the idea of Dr. Robinson and two other area dentists, Dr. Jean Creasey and Dr. Lee Osnas.




Area newcomer Dr. David DeAinza is the main dentist for the clinics. He wanted to move to Nevada County “to do something rewarding. I wanted to treat the underserved.”

He was doing exactly that Friday morning for Susan Straub’s four children as the clinic offered free screenings and treatment in Grass Valley.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “The children are on Healthy Families and there are no dentists in Grass Valley who take it. We have health insurance, but no dental.”

Her daughter, Nicole Grimes, 12, was awaiting her turn in the chair. “I like clean teeth, and I don’t like having cavities, so it’s kinda cool,” she said.

The new dental clinics were able to open because of a $180,000 state grant landed by the Nevada County Dental Health Advisory Board and its alliance with the San Juan Ridge medical clinic. That clinic is federally qualified and eligible for a higher reimbursement rate, which helps to make the new dental clinics financially viable, Robinson said.

“We will only take kids here,” Robinson said of the Grass Valley dental clinic.

“At the San Juan dental clinic, we’ll take people of all ages.”

For more information on the dental clinics, call Sierra Nevada Children’s Services Dental Coordinator Barry Sturm at 272-8866.

The Grass Valley clinic is at 605 S. Auburn in Grass Valley on the second floor. The San Juan Ridge clinic is at the Sierra Family Medical Clinic, 15301 Tyler Foote Crossing Road.


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