Wednesday's ribbon cutting ceremony for the Washington County Dental Clinic was a ceremony, Washington County Health Department officials believe, was long over due.
For over a year, officials have been trying to open up a dental clinic to better serve their patients. But they had one thing standing in their way, hiring a dentist.
"Any area that's under served they have a problem gaining and retaining physicians or dentists,” said Dentist Dr. Callief Shand
But Dr. Callief Shand entered the picture, solving that problem. The facility finally opened its doors to patients, on July 9, the day of Dr. Shand's arrival. She says the reward for working in a rural community is helping children and under served patients.
Clinic officials say in 2005, clinics like this, served over 120,000 people and 77 percent of them were children.
"A dental clinic has a mission of prevention first and to also take care of children who do not have access to oral health,” said Medical Director Dr. Radwan Sabbagh
And whether you have insurance or not you are welcome to the clinic. The staff here also provides services relating to tobacco use prevention, sexual violence prevention and family planning.
As far as recruiting more dentists to the clinic, Sabbagh has some ideas.
"Do like an internship serving one month in these counties and they can find out if this suits them or not. This way they get exposure to these counties."
They hope the small town charm that attracted Dr. Shand will work on others as well.
"It’s just giving back to the community and helping undeserved population."
The dental clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 in the morning until 5 in the evening.