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photo of the Health District Family Dental Clinic building

Dental clinic keeps serving up smiles

by Julie Estlick

Photo of Dr. Dana Quiller treating a patient in 1997. Quiller was the Health District's first and only dentist for 5 years. In 2002, the dental program expanded into the Family Dental Clinic and took over the first floor of 202 Bristlecone.In the 1990s, lack of affordable dental care for those without insurance was a serious local problem, with 19,000 area residents who had low incomes reporting that they put off needed dental care because of cost. This led to what was then the Health District’s most ambitious project to date: a dental clinic with low sliding fees for those with low income and no dental insurance.

The clinic started off small in 1997 — a single dentist, working one day a week in donated office space. By the following year, the new program, which then treated only adults, moved to the Health District’s new offices in north Fort Collins. When the Health District expanded to a nearby second facility in 2002, the clinic occupied the entire first floor and began serving both children and adults as the Family Dental Clinic. It has been busy ever since, helping thousands of residents achieve better oral health and regain their smiles and confidence.

Last year, the Family Dental Clinic served 2,282 patients. Community outreach efforts included routine screening of 185 students in the Early Childhood Education Program at Poudre School District along with children at The Family Center/La Familia, a Latinx community resource center. A number of children received immediate care by dental clinic staff.

The clinic currently serves all ages who meet income guidelines, have no dental insurance or are insured by Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), and live within the Health District boundaries. Sliding scale fees are available to keep costs affordable.

Employee Spotlight: Jose Madera, patient care coordinator at the Family Dental Clinic."As a patient care coordinator, Jose's wealth of knowledge and positive outlook offers reassuranceto our patients on their dental journey. He embodies true care and compassion in his work".  Jill Wear, Family Dental Clinic ManagerServices offered include:

  • Cleanings
  • Dental exams
  • Fillings
  • Affordable dentures
  • Root canals
  • Crowns and bridges
  • Tooth extractions
  • Emergency treatment
  • Bilingual patient care coordination

Making dental care accessible to all community members continues to be a focus. The General Anesthesia Program (GAP), coordinated by the Family Dental Clinic, treats adults living with developmental disabilities who need general anesthesia for dental care. The program has been relocated to UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital, which generously provides an operating room and hospital staff time to help Health District dental staff complete these procedures.

“Oral health is crucial to overall health, and we aim to provide a welcoming environment where everyone can feel comfortable coming to see the dentist,” says Jill Wear, Family Dental Clinic manager.

For more information or to see if you qualify for services, contact the Family Dental Clinic at 970-416-5331.