Dental clinic opens

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By Mark Scohier

The Levy County Health Department has just expanded its services with the opening of  a new 1,300 square foot dental clinic at its office in Bronson.

“I think it’s great,” said LCHD administrator Barbara Locke at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the clinic Nov. 15. “It’s a service kids greatly needed,” adding that before the opening of the clinic, low-income locals would have had to travel out of county for such services.

The clinic, with a staff of five, will primarily take care of children, Locke said, though adults on Medicaid may also receive services.

“Dentists that take Medicaid are rare,” she said, explaining that even Gainesville has only a handful of offices that are willing to accept it. And because the services are so sought after, it’s sometimes hard to get an appointment, she said.

The Levy County Health Department, one of 67 health departments in the state, is the 38th to get its own dental clinic, she said.

“I’ve always been interested in building a (dental) clinic,” she said, “but it was a money issue, as well as a space issue.”

The new facility, costing about $150,000, was mostly paid for with a grant issued from the state, Locke said. The clinic occupies a section of the building that once housed environmental health, which has been moved to a portable outside the health department. Some of the equipment—a panoramic x-ray machine and two dental chairs—was donated by Williston dentist Kenneth A. Schwiebert, of Williston General Dentistry. The county contracted most of the construction.

Jimmy Jones, head of the county’s maintenance and construction department, said construction on the clinic began in mid-August and included the addition of four exam rooms, a handicap-accessible bathroom, a lobby and the conversion of two outside doorways into windows.

Locke said the clinic will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and that patients should call to make an appointment.