Dental Connections, Inc.
Dental Connections: The Past
Dental Connections is a non-profit dental clinic based in Des Moines Iowa. The organization was founded as the Des Moines Health Center in 1919 by a group of civic-minded individuals representing various health agencies within the community. These individuals collaborated to create an integrated health home to combat what the committee deemed as a “fractured health care system” for the poor.
Over the years, the services of the Des Moines Health Center broadened and narrowed based on the needs of the community and the availability of providers and funding sources. At one time, there were twenty different specialty clinics housed within the Des Moines Health Center ranging from pediatrics and obstetrics to cardiac and tuberculosis clinics. However, from the first day of operations to the present, one type of care has consistently been provided at the center—dental care.
The Des Moines Health Center began to focus exclusively on dental care in 2001 as other community organizations filled the need for medical care. In 2017, its name was changed to Dental Connections to better reflect the services provided, and in 2019, Dental Connections celebrated its 100th anniversary as an organization.
Dental Connections: The Present
Today, Dental Connections provides dental care to over 17,000 patients each year in its three locations:
Clinic: Dental Connections Main Clinic houses 17 operatories and provides care to between 60-80 patients each day. It serves patients with State insurance (including Medicaid and Hawk-I). Uninsured patients are offered discounted care and payment plans are offered to patients. Of the nearly 5,000 patients seen at the clinic each year, almost 75% are children.
Community: The Dental Connections Smile Squad provides screenings and fluoride treatment to children in preschools and day care centers across the Des Moines Metro. The Mobile Dental Clinic provides cleanings, exams, and treatment to children on site at 49 elementary and middle schools as well as at community service centers.
Classroom: The Nolden Gentry Dental Clinic, located within Central Campus in Des Moines, is the only school-based dental clinic in the State of Iowa, and one of the only dental clinics to provide transportation to its patients. It provides dental care to any child within the Des Moines Public Schools system and offers a full range of services.
Dental Connections: The Future
We cannot be certain what the future holds for Dental Connections. We can only imagine the possibilities and work hard to achieve the goals we set. One thing we can be sure of, though, is that with community support and collaboration, Dental Connections will continue to fulfill its mission to provide equal access to quality dental care and education. We have done it for over 100 years, we’re doing it today, and we will continue to do it for the next century and beyond.
Benefits may vary per position and employment status