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Clinic opening to fill dental-care gaps for homeless

Published January 18, 2014 5:23 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Fourth Street Clinic opens its long-awaited dental clinic Jan. 23 to serve homeless Utahns with comprehensive oral health care.

Dental care has been a major service gap for uninsured Utahns, as decayed or missing teeth erode self-confidence, contribute to unemployment and perpetuate homelessness. When fully operational by the end of 2015, the Fourth Street Dental Clinic will be able to save teeth and bring back smiles for nearly 2,000 homeless Utahns annually.

The dental clinic construction was part of a $2.9 million capital improvement project funded through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that effectively doubled the size of Fourth Street Clinic and allows for service expansions. Oral health care will be fully integrated into Fourth Street Clinic's primary care services and delivered by a combination of paid staff, students, and volunteers. Fourth Street Clinic is currently engaged in a broad-based community fundraising campaign to raise the $450,000 needed to annually operate the dental clinic.