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Affordable Dental Care gets ready for groundbreaking ceremony for new state-of-the-art clinic on Madison’s North Side

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Affordable Dental Care Executive Director Areli Estrada with Kathy Blumenfeld, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration (Photo by Omar Waheed)

Dentistry on Madison’s North Side is working to reach more people in need of affordable care as one of the few dental clinics in the area looks to expand with a groundbreaking at a new location at 1709 Aberg Ave.

Affordable Dental Care is currently working towards an expansion on Madison’s North Side. The dental clinic has quickly realized its need to serve more people in an underserved area in Madison, both from lack of medical clinics and affordable care across the state, and is now in the process of building a new clinic on Aberg Ave. Affordable Dental Care hosted a tour of its current and in-progress facility on June 20 with Kathy Blumenfeld, secretary for the Department of Administration, and Charlie Tubbs, the director of Dane County Emergency Management.

The clinic has seen an uptick in patients from around Madison and even some coming from Illinois and out of the country due to its affordability, said Areli Estrada, executive director of Affordable Dental Care. A good deal of patients coming into the clinic have not been to the dentist for years — but the affordability of care pushes them to start making regular visits.

“Dental care has always been expensive; it’s very expensive. And it’s always been associated with almost being a luxury,” Estrada said. “We recognize that oral health care is connected to our overall health. It’s connected, it’s not separated. Dental care affects nutrition, our overall well-being, self-confidence and employability.”

Estrada has seen a swath of patients experiencing dental care for the first time due to the clinic’s lower costs. She notes that around 400 patients per year come in for emergency care, as opposed to regular scheduled visits. While its reach for emergency care is 400, Estrada hopes that the new facility will be able to accommodate more and, eventually, expand its hours to Friday for those key, reparative visits.

The tour started at its current location on Fordem Avenue to give a better sense of the intended before and after. Estrada gave a run down on operations from current staff, dental chairs, storage space, lab area and where it makes dental impressions. Dental impressions, which are a vital mold-based rendering of a patient’s mouth vital for oral care, are typically costly. The amount expected to pay, even with insurance, at most clinics in Wisconsin sits at around $1,200. Affordable Dental Care is able to make them for around $700.

Renderings of the office provided by Affordable Dental Care

The current leased space shares a building split between Affordable Dental, Madison Chiropractic Central and a storage space used by both and the landlord.

The tour moved to the new building, a five-minute drive up the street deeper into the North Side at the Northgate Shopping Center, to get a look at the office being built.

Rubble from digouts at the new location lined the area as Estrada gave a walk-through on what will be included. The new space will be able to accommodate more patients in the 4,000-square-foot building. Estrada has her eyes set on expanding its reach from 2,700 patients a year to 5,000 with its increased facilities.

“Money should not be a barrier for people accessing care, and that is the nature of many individuals, unfortunately,” Estrada said. “We are really trying to change that narrative. We want to normalize how visiting a dentist’s office should be part of your overall health care like it’s part of your routine like your annual physical.”

More dental chairs and equipment, already donated by Delta Dental Wisconsin Foundation, office space; and expanded facilities will allow operations to reach more clientele. Estrada aims to make dental care a regular routine through its increased accessibility from expanded services and central location on the North Side.

Affordable Dental Care will host a groundbreaking at the new location at 1709 Aberg Ave. on Thursday, June 27, at 3 p.m.