Home Health “We’re looking at doubling our impact.” Affordable Dental Care breaks ground on...

“We’re looking at doubling our impact.” Affordable Dental Care breaks ground on new facility on Madison’s North Side


Affordable Dental Care, a bilingual, non-profit dental clinic dedicated to providing quality and compassionate care to the uninsured and underinsured in Wisconsin, broke ground on its new office on Madison’s North Side on June 27 as it plans to expand its facilities to reach more in need of dental care.

The move to the space comes after seeing an increased demand and realization for affordable dental care in Wisconsin and the lack of it throughout the state. The new space, a short move from Fordem Avenue to 1709 Aberg Ave., will have increased facilities to almost double the number of patients served.

Areli Estrada, executive director of Affordable Dental Care, has seen a strong uptick in patients from Madison and even some coming from out of state in need of affordable care. With its rising costs, Estrada is trying to combat notions of dental care being a luxury and vital to your overall health.

“We grew up on Medicaid and I recall going as kids, six of us being turned away from dental care,” said Paula Tran, state health officer from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. “It’s such a special treat to come full circle to be here today because of a wonderful group of folks and wonderful group of leaders. Thank you all so much for the ways you’ve been coming together as a community to serve southern Wisconsin.”

Areli Estrada, executive director of Affordable Dental Care, speaks at the groundbreaking of Affordable Dental Care’s new facility.
(Photo by Omar Waheed)

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services awards will award $2.25 million to free and charitable clinics across Wisconsin this year. Governor Tony Evers signed into the 2023-25 biannual budget to increase funding for free and charitable clinics by $1.5 million — up from its $775,000 annual allotment.

Affordability in dental care has been an issue budding both in Wisconsin and around the nation. Madison’s North Side also has an issue with a lack of dental offices in the area with Affordable Dental Care being the only affordable, non-private practice in the area.

Out of all clinics across the state, Wisconsin only has 93 charitable and free clinics and only 25 providing dental care, said Danine Casper, business manager of the Wisconsin Association of Free & Affordable Charitable Clinics.

With the new facility, Affordable Dental Care will be able to increase its services from 2,700 to 5,000. The space will allow for more dental chairs, which has already been donated by Delta Dental, and dentists to work on patients and, Estrada hopes, have more availability for emergency care.

Annually, the clinic receives 352 emergency visits per year, according to Estrada. She wants to see the clinic eventually open on Fridays specifically for emergency visits.

“It means that these people come to us with pain. It means that they do not have a dental home. It also means that, ultimately, they end up making affordable dental care at home,” Estrada said. “We’re looking at doubling our impact.”

Inside the building that will be the new home for Affordable Dental Care
(Photo by Omar Waheed)

Other speakers from the groundbreaking included Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Sara Rodriguez, who had a background in nursing before coming into her current role. She also sits as chair on Gov. Evers’ task force on the healthcare workforce.

“Part of that work, we are bringing those voices to the foreground to ensure that we can continue to provide affordable and equitable care for our citizens while supporting our clinicians, especially those who work within our most vulnerable communities,” Rodriguez said. “This is a perfect example of a clinic that has [used] these funds to make dental care accessible by expanding their services.”

The new location is set to be completed this fall. The old location at 2110 Fordem Ave. will still be seeing patients until the full move to the new clinic.