Pulling teeth for dentist hunt

Dental coalition seeks new dentist to fill void

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— With the departure of its dentist, the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition is seeking someone new to fill the position.

Gregory Reinhold, the clinic's dentist since November 2006, has resigned to work at a private practice in North Carolina and apply for pediatric dentistry programs. Today is his last day at the clinic.

"It's going to be a slight interruption : but hopefully with the staff we have here, it'll be minimal," coalition Director Janet Pearcey said. "I want our patients to know we're here for them. We're going on like we normally do."

The clinic, 485 Yampa Ave., serves patients of all ages who are on Medicaid or Children's Health Plan Plus or who are low-income in Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Grand and Jackson counties.

Pearcey said she and the coalition board plan to meet with one candidate today and conduct a nationwide search to fill in the dentist position.

In the meantime, Dana Fujita, who has a dentistry practice in Steamboat Springs, will see patients once a week or once every other week to assist with care.

The clinic's dental hygienists will conduct hygiene visits as usual, and area providers may help with X-rays and emergency care as needed.

"We're going to continue on as we are," Pearcey said. "The only thing is restoration needs. We may have to delay them a short time."

Since care remains the coalition's top concern, the director said she plans to bring in the perfect candidate for the clinic's position.

"We want to find somebody who lives in the community and wants to stay long-term," Pearcey said. "We're adamant about getting the right person. So we're going to be picky."

Most importantly, Pearcey said she wants patients to feel comfortable continuing to come to the clinic in the transition phase.

"I really don't want our patients to feel abandoned," Pearcey said. "We're going to find the right person to take care of them."

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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