New Kind of Dental Clinic Opens at Minneapolis Veterans Home

September 05, 2018 06:33 PM

The Minneapolis Veterans Home and the State of Minnesota have made history by opening the nation's first-of-its-kind dental clinic.

The clinic is a product of a public-private partnership between the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs, Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation, Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Trust Fund and the Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota Foundation.


The facility is designed to make it easier to provide dental care to residents of the veteran's home, and participants in the adult day center program.

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"95 percent of them are in wheelchairs, so they are handicapped," said Dr. Marcus Gustafson,  the lead dentist at the clinic. "A lot of them have dementia. They are challenging to work on."

The clinic was once a mobile practice. But since moving into the new location, Gustafson said the facility has stepped up its care.

"And I think that's the big difference, so we can take the next step," he said. "The next step is to go from a preventive practice to a more traditional practice."

The clinic will serve roughly 500 veterans.

Gustafson said the primary issue with treating many veterans is their mobility. They can't get out, so it's very challenging for them to go to a private dentist.

But by establishing this new clinic, the hope is they get the care they need.

Janice Smith's husband Sheldon lives at the Minneapolis Veteran's Home. She said when her husband was in need of dentist, they quickly scheduled him.

"So within 24 hours, they were ready to see him here," she said. 

The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs would like to expand this project to its five other facilities. But they first plan to study how things go at the new clinic for a year to determine the best practices that can be applied elsewhere.


Todd Wilson

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