Dental Clinic to expand operations

The Augusta Regional Free Clinic and the Augusta Regional Dental Clinic held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for the expanded Augusta Regional Dental Clinic.

To increase the number of patients served and better meet their needs, the Augusta Regional Dental Clinic will double in both size and capacity. The new 5,000-square-foot facility will include state-of-the-art equipment, eight treatment rooms, and an additional full-time dentist and hygienist on staff.

For many low-income families in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County, the Dental Clinic is their only resource for dental care. Across the area, there are 30,000 people eligible for the Dental Clinic’s low- or no-cost services. With such a large pool of potential patients, ARDC identified an immediate need to increase and expand its facilities.

“Poor oral health has a direct impact on general health, causing pain and suffering, impeding the ability to chew properly, and ultimately, diminishing quality of life and well-being,” said Margaret Hersh, executive director of the Augusta Regional Free Clinic and the Augusta Regional Dental Clinic. “With our expanded facility, we can reach more people who need the Dental Clinic’s services, and provide those services in a more timely manner.”

Construction is expected to be complete by June 2011. The project is being funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through a loan and grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The funds were appropriated by Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb to create jobs and improve needed infrastructure in rural communities across the state. Additional grants were received from organizations, including the Virginia Health Care Foundation.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

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