Since our founding in 1910, we’ve been renters, but the time has come for the Dental Center of Northwest Ohio to establish a permanent home where we can grow our oral healthcare, education and advocacy programs to serve more people in Northwest Ohio.
Like Goldilocks, we had to try out several options before we found a place that was “just right.” For the last 23 years, our offices have been headquartered in Uptown Toledo, which has proven ideal for our patients. We’re located on a bus line and convenient to many other services located in and near Downtown Toledo. Our patients come from several surrounding zip codes and neighborhoods, and we’ve become a permanent fixture on this site as a result.
In 2015, we had the opportunity to buy our current location and we knew we couldn’t pass it up. A vacant building next door to our current location will be torn down, so we’ll be able to build a new and improved facility on those grounds while continuing to serve patients from our current offices. Our board and Executive Director carefully weighed the pros and cons of new construction vs. renovation, and the availability of this soon-to-be-vacant lot was crucial to our decision.
Renovation Vs. New Construction
Our current facility consists of three buildings, two of which are presently utilized. Despite the perfect location, its limitations became clear as we explored our options with the architect.
- None of our current buildings are handicap-accessible, which presents a number of challenges for patients with disabilities, moms with strollers, and even the delivery personnel who bring supplies to our offices.
- Being spread out across these buildings means our staff is constantly running up and down stairs to get to the denture lab, central supply area and treatment rooms, which has created a lot of operational inefficiencies.
- The ancient HVAC system breaks down regularly and makes it impossible to maintain a comfortable temperature for patients and staff.
- The roof leaks in several places.
- The windows aren’t energy efficient and many are cracked. (Repairing them isn’t an option, and replacing them would require expensive custom-manufactured materials.)
- Asbestos abatement would be incredibly expensive.
- The location of load-bearing walls would make for oddly-shaped treatment rooms. (As a result, we’d be unable to construct a desperately needed surgical suite and expand our denture lab to adequately accommodate future prosthetic needs.)
Futhermore, it would be difficult for our patients to find another dental care provider if we closed for a year or more for extensive renovations, and the monthly mortgage of the new site is substantially less expensive than the monthly rent for our current location.
Utlimately, a commitment to fiscal responsibility and patient services compelled our board to make the decision to proceed with new construction and build the space we need to continue to provide quality oral health care into the next century.
Mission & History
In 1910, our community lacked the necessary resources to provide oral health care services for our most vulnerable citizens. There was little understanding of the link between oral health and systemic health, but we now know that there’s a crucial connection. Our programs help educate people about this connection and enable them to take a proactive role in their healthcare.
We’ve come a long way, yet dental care remains the NUMBER ONE unmet healthcare need for children and low-income adults in Ohio. After more than a century of service, the mission of the Dental Center of Northwest Ohio remains the same:
- Provide primary oral health services for underserved children and adults in Northwest Ohio
- Promote the value of good oral health through education
- Serve as an advocate for those with limited access to oral health care
We carry out this three-pronged mission in numerous ways every day – looking beyond the mouth and teeth to see each patient as a whole person and partnering with other agencies to bridge significant cracks in social service and healthcare safety nets where at-risk individuals often get lost.
The Dental Center of Northwest Ohio has been a leader in creating and expanding access to dental treatment for thousands of individuals throughout our 18-county service area. We’ve opened dental practices in Findlay and Van Wert specifically to address these issues in our rural communities, and another office is slated to open in Liberty Center in late 2017. We also provide support and advocacy for patients who might require dental treatment prior to other medical therapies such as chemo, radiation or cardiac surgery. Additionally, we help connect our patients with non-dental healthcare providers, housing resources, insurance coverage and other vital services.
We Need Your Help
Our dreams and goals for serving our patients are immense. Perhaps our biggest challenge is that there hasn’t been a substantive increase in Medicaid reimbursements for patient services since 2000, which has tied our hands in making long-term decisions, investing in upgrades to our building, equipment, and even providing competitive benefits and compensation for talented staff.
We can’t do it alone. We know this. So we’re engaging people from all walks of life to help make our new facility a reality, including legislators, politicians, healthcare providers, accountants, social workers and YOU.
This is a marathon – not a sprint. It’s going to take more than the dental community to make this a reality. Everyone has a role to play in this endeavor and we’re asking for your help! If you can make a monetary donation, we want to talk with you. If you can help us connect with members of the community who are interested in healthcare for children and building healthy futures, we need you!
Let’s talk about how we can build better communities together. Reach out to our development officer Lisa Lawson at 419.725.2506.