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Tonopah dental project pushes ahead despite obstacles to opening

TONOPAH — For the last year and a half, the residents of Tonopah and the surrounding area have been excitedly awaiting the start of operations at a much-needed local dental clinic but with a series of circumstances prompting delays, the anticipated spring 2023 opening was pushed back.

In an effort to ensure the community stays informed as to where the project stands to date, the Nevada Dental Foundation issued a press release on Aug. 1.

“Nevada Dental Foundation believes in transparency with our community and we want to explain the reasons for the delay in opening the Tonopah Dental Center,” the release stated. “While the facility is complete, there are items that we need to purchase before we can officially open. In addition, there are payroll and travel expenses that require financial consideration… Furthermore, our partnership with the state of Nevada has consumed the limited resources of our volunteer organization, but we are determined to also fulfill these obligations.”

The Nevada Dental Foundation acts as the charitable arm of the Nevada Dental Association. Originally established in 2005 as Nevada Dental Association Foundation for Oral Health, it was rebranded as the NDF in 2021, the same year that construction began at the Tonopah Dental Clinic.

“Our goal is to eliminate barriers to dental care in rural and underserved areas of Nevada and provide exceptional dental care where Nevadans need it most,” Tonopah Dental Center Coordinator Valeria Romero told the Times-Bonanza this week. “Currently, our primary objective is to serve the Tonopah community, where there is a clear need for dental services.”

The NDF is a small, volunteer-based nonprofit and it has been balancing between its professional commitment with dedicating effort to the Tonopah Dental Center project, which has been a real challenge. However, “We want to assure you we have not stopped working for you,” the press release continued. “Our commitment to the Tonopah community remains unwavering. We deeply care about the well-being of each member of this community and understand the importance of accessible dental care.”

Romero said the clinic is expected to serve upward of 3,200 people once open.

“In the initial stages, our plan is to offer services on Fridays and Saturdays. The clinic will be staffed by volunteer hygienists and dentists from Northern and Southern Nevada, along with their assistants, and eventually, we expect to hire a full-time dentist to run the office. We will also offer a wide range of comprehensive treatments, such as preventative cleanings, fillings, root canals, crowns, extractions and full/partial dentures, among other services,” Romero detailed.

It’s been a long haul to get to where the project is now and the NDF was quick to offer its appreciation to those who have helped along the way. “We are grateful for the support of our donors, whose contributions have been instrumental in bringing us closer to our goal,” the release read, adding, “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the community for your patience and support throughout this journey. We will keep you informed about our progress and eagerly look forward to the day when we can finally open our doors and serve you.”

Anyone interested in contributing to Nevada Dental Foundation for this or any of its other projects can do so online at www.NVDA.org, through Venmo using @nevadadentalfoundation or through GoFundMe. Donations in the form of a check can be mailed to Nevada Dental Foundation, 600 E. William Street, Suite 202, Carson City, NV, 89701.

Questions can be directed to TonopahDC@gmail.com or NevadaDentalFoundation@gmail.com

For more visit www.TonopahDentalCenter.com

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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