FULTON - Construction of a new community dental clinic is underway in Callaway County and is scheduled to open by mid-April.
The new Fulton clinic is a branch of the Community Health Center of Central Missouri, which is based in Jefferson City. The dental director of the Community Health Center, Dr. Ben Connor, said the Fulton location will help reach patients who do not currently have access to dental care.
"'The community health center focuses in on pregnant women, children, the uninsured adults in the community," Connor said.
Even though the Fulton clinic will not open its doors for two more months, Connor said there is already a list of 900 Callaway County residents who are hoping to get dental care from the community clinic.
The Community Health Center of Central Missouri is a not-for-profit organization that currently has three locations in Jefferson City, Linn and California. The center is expanding to Fulton with the help of a $175,000 federal grant, which is being put toward dental equipment.
Health center CEO Don Holloman said the four locations will share a dental staff of four dentists and two hygienists. All locations, with the exception of Jefferson City, are open two days per week. However, Holloman said he expects the Fulton location to eventually expand to five days per week.
Callaway County Commissioner Gary Jungermann said the new clinic project has been a community effort. He said he expects the clinic to reach a large number of residents.
"We think it's going to be a great thing and we want to see this continue to grow," Jungermann said. "There's a huge need. We're just blessed to get this clinic here at this time."
Holloman said the plan for the clinic does not stop with dental care. He said he hopes to expand to a full-medical care community clinic as soon as fall 2013.