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With nearest dentist 100 miles away, donations critical to bring dental clinic to Tonopah

The Nevada Dental Foundation is seeking donations to aid in furnishing a dentist’s office in Tonopah in order to open this fall.

Construction began on the Tonopah Dental Clinic in late 2021 and the organization has already acquired the larger equipment needed, but donations are still needed to supply the office with small equipment and supplies.

To cover the cost of finishing the project, the Nevada Dental Foundation is aiming for $100,000 in donations.

“We hope to raise these funds with the help of the community, big companies and local businesses who understand that this project will have a direct impact on the health of the Tonopah community and surrounding areas,” Valeria Romero, TDC coordinator, said.

If the donations are secured, the dental office is expected to open in September 2022 and will be located in the Central Nevada Regional Care building at 825 S. Main Street in Tonopah. A lack of donations would push the completion of the project into 2023.

The nonprofit Nevada Dental Foundation is the charitable arm of the Nevada Dental Association.

“Our goal is that the NDF will eliminate barriers to dental care in rural Nevada and provide exceptional dental care where Nevadans need it most,” Romero said. “Serving the Tonopah community will save our residents time and the significant expense of a commute to Reno or Las Vegas.”

The dental office expects to serve 3,200 people in Tonopah and surrounding communities, according to Romero. Currently, the closest dental options for Tonopah residents are more than 100 miles away in Hawthorne, Nevada or Bishop, California.

But Hawthorne’s lone dentist, Dr. Bruce Dow, wants to retire and has put his dental practice on the market.

The new dentist’s office in Tonopah would be staffed by volunteer dental professionals until a permanent dentist can be found. Volunteers have been found in both Northern and Southern Nevada, including dentists from Las Vegas.

“We have a very generous group of people, businesses and organizations who have been supporting us with monetary and equipment donations to make this project happen,” said Romero.

The majority of the larger equipment that will be used in the clinic was donated by a periodontist in Las Vegas and a dentist in Henderson.

Services provided at the Tonopah Dental Clinic will be determined by community need, but the goal of the organization is to offer all general dental services, including preventative cleanings, fillings, root canals and dentures. Emergency services would also be offered.

Prior to opening, the clinic will also be filling staff positions such as a community health dental hygienist and a receptionist. Resumes can be emailed to tonopahdc@gmail.com.

Those who are interested in donating to the dental clinic can make donations to the Nevada Dental Foundation through Venmo, PayPal or check. Questions about the dental clinic can be sent to tonopahdc@gmail.com or the Nevada Dental Foundation at nevadadentalfoundation@gmail.com.

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