Good news continues to roll in for Community Dental Care's expansion plans in Rochester.

Weeks after receiving a $1 million grant to help fund a new 18-chair office in Southeast Rochester, Community Dental Care received another grant for $450,000 top help complete the $3.9 million project. The first grant came from Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation and the latest one, announced Tuesday, came from the Otto Bremer Trust.

Local leaders held a ceremonial groundbreaking for Community Dental's new facility in September. The first 9 chairs are expected to be operational in September 2017, providing a critical service to low-income families, minorities and children.

"Community Dental Care is responding to an urgent need for oral health care in Rochester and surrounding communities," Otto Bremer Trust CEO and trustee Daniel Reardon said via statement. "We are very excited to move this important work forward."

Community Dental has been operating a six-chair clinic in the Heintz Center on RCTC's campus since 2012, but that site has been overwhelmed while trying to meet the needs of local residents. It has a two-month waiting list for dental appointments and a seven-month waiting list to see a hygienist.

According to data provided by Community Dental Care, around 70 percent of the 71,000 residents in and around Olmsted County eligible for public programs did not receive care. Just 43 percent of the 10,000 Medicaid-eligible children visited a dentist.

The new facility is expected to create up to 35 full-time jobs while providing primary dental care to about 10,000 people annually. The targeted audience is low-income families and those living in poverty, who might otherwise not be able to afford dental care. Programming at the clinic will include preventative education for families.

The City of Rochester previously approved a $2.25 million loan to support Community Dental's expansion plans located along U.S. Highway 14 near RCTC. The new site is located on a public transportation route to allow for easy access.

"The need for dental services in Rochester and our surrounding communities is enormous," said Dr. Vacharee Peterson, CEO of Community Dental Care. "Too many people are going without even a simple exam, which can prevent the need for serious or emergency dental procedures in the future. This new clinic will transform dental care access for thousands of these children and families in need.

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