Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition to extend hours |

Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition to extend hours

Luke Graham

Thanks to grant money, dental hygiene students, software education and help from local dentists, the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition plans to extend its hours in two weeks.

Debi Harmon, the executive director for NCDC, said the plan is to be open three days a week.

NCDC is a nonprofit organization that offers dental care to children who are on Medicare or Child Health Plan Plus, or who are uninsured and qualify for the program.

Harmon said they will be able to extend their hours because of help from Craig and surrounding communities.

Colorado Northwest Com–munity College-Rangely sends dental hygienist students up once a week to work with patients.

“(The students) are very well-educated,” Harmon said. “They’re wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”

Mark Patterson, the program director for the CNCC-Rangely dental hygiene program, said that although the clinic helps his students, it helps the children more.

“It has just been a dream come true for that clinic to be a real place where real things happen,” he said.

The clinic also will be helped by a registered dental hygienist in two weeks and is in contract talks with a dentist to serve full time at the clinic.

In the past month, NCDC has received “fantastic” support from the community while they are in this interim period, Harmon said.

Local dental professionals Jim and Wendy McCreight have volunteered their time at the clinic during the interim period as NCDC continues to search for a full-time staff dentist, Harmon said.

NCDC also received the Kenneth Kendal King Found–ation grant in the amount of $10,000.

Harmon said this grant will help in the education of her staff and with the upkeep of the clinic.

Bob Sweeney, the president of the foundation and former Craig mayor, said he jumped on the chance to benefit his community.

“When my hometown needed help I went to work to see what I could do,” he said. “We wanted to see that kids in need of dental care get it, that is a pretty high priority for us.”

Harmon hopes the clinic will be open full time in the future. There is still a lot to do, she said, but she is happy with the progress.

“We’re very excited to provide full, complementary dental service,” she said. “We met an unmet need in Northwestern Colorado.”

Those who want to apply for the program should stop by the clinic, 485 Yampa Ave., as soon as possible. For more information, call the clinic at 824-1178.

Luke Graham can be reached at 824-7031 or

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