Prospective young dental patients try out the teddy bear chair.
Dental clinic opens at LWTC
by Mina Hochberg
A string quartet playing in the background set the tone for the dedication of the new Washington Dental Service Foundation Dental Clinic at Lake Washington Technical College.
More than 250 donors from the community were present to witness the dedication of the clinic as the ribbon that named the clinic was cut and the new donor wall was unveiled.
Washington's largest dental clinic for low-income and uninsured patients was officially open.
A diversity of donors was present, said Kitty Domres, director of the Lake Washington College Foundation, including private, public and corporate names.
"The donors were thrilled," she said. Their donations totaled half a million dollars, not including furnishings and equipment.
"And more money is coming in," she said. The donations were part of an 18-month fundraising drive that raised a grand total of $1.3 million.
The clinic was three years in the making, requiring numerous advisors, donations and support from the public and dental community. It is the first Washington clinic to co-locate dental hygiene with dental training.
The clinic is staffed by qualified students of Lake Washington Technical College's dental training program, as well as licensed dentists and dental hygienists.
It is also Washington's first new dental hygiene program in 23 years.
Usually when encountering that many firsts, there are many critics. But everyone was in support of this, Domres said.
The clinic holds 30 chairs, including two teddy bear chairs for pediatric patients, designed by a Bellevue doctor.
The dental community needed a place that was ideal for low-income and uninsured patients, said Domres. "It's beautiful, it's high-tech, it's friendly."