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The Kitchen, Inc. Shows Off Newly Renovated Dental Clinic

The Ozarks’ only free dental clinic has re-opened, bigger and better than ever. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

The Kitchen Dental Clinic is in new digs, and those who spend any amount of time there are thrilled. Pam Hailey is dental coordinator with the Kitchen Clinic.

It’s that last reason why Hailey is particularly excited about the newly renovated clinic, which offers free dental care for those who otherwise couldn’t afford it.Currently, two dentists work committed shifts each month at the dental clinic. Others help when they can. Hailey hopes the new space will encourage other dentists to jump on board.

The clinic closed for renovations last June. They only planned to be closed for 3 months, but the project took longer than expected due to unforeseen costs and no money to pay for them.The clinic sees around 8 dental patients per clinic in a 4-hour time span, and there are two clinics per month. More than 150 are turned away each month. 225 people are on a waiting list to have teeth extracted.Hailey makes about 20 referrals per month to 13 area dentists who will accept them in their offices. And, if a patient’s problems are too severe to be treated at the Kitchen Dental Clinic, there are two oral surgeons in Springfield who will see them at no charge.The dental assistants at the clinic are volunteers. Some are Vatterott College students who get on-the-job training helping out there.

To learn more about the Kitchen Dental Clinic, call 837-1504.