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HOPE Clinic now offers low-cost dental care

After much anticipation, HOPE Clinic is offering dental care. The clinic also offers low-cost medical care for uninsured, low-income residents of Johnson County. “I think the dental component of the clinic will have a life of its own,” said Dr. Tony Torres, the clinic’s founder and president. The clinic has already held three dental sessions, seeing more than 30 patients. “Those clinics were really working through the issues,” said Diane Westcott, director of clinical operations. “We also already had one student down.” She said the clinic has received more than 300 applications for patients to be seen in the dental office. Baylor School of Dentistry will send fourth-year dentist students to do their preceptorships at the clinic. “It works out nicely because they need patients, and the patients here need someone who is willing to work with them,” Torres said. Six local dentists have volunteered to donate their time to work the students and patients. The dental clinic has three dental chairs, each with its own water supply, a panoramic X-ray machine and a focal X-ray machine that zeroes in on one area. It also has an autoclave and developer. “A retired doctor in Fort Worth gave us all of his dental chairs, his compressors and the radiology equipment,” Torres said. “We didn’t know how we were going to get all of that equipment. “The dental is more complicated and harder to get off the ground. We feel very blessed that we got these donations. If we had to pay for all this it would have been prohibitive; we wouldn’t have been able to afford it.” The clinic is a member of the National Association of Free Clinics and Lone Star Association of Charitable Clinics, which gives it access to free supplies and allows it to offer the volunteer physicians and dentists free malpractice. Since its inception in January 2007, HOPE clinic has had more than 5,500 patient visits. The clinic will host a Project Diabetes health fair from 4-8:30 p.m. July 9 at the clinic. After that, diabetes classes will be held once a week. The clinic is located at 111 Meadowview Drive, adjacent to the Cleburne Seventh-day Adventist Church. For information, to schedule a visit or to volunteer, call 817-641-5858.

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