The new Livingston County Dental Center was celebrated with a grand opening ceremony in Howell yesterday.

Located on Byron Road, the clinic officially began accepting patients on January 30th. It is operated by My Community Dental Centers (MCDC) through a partnership with the Livingston County Health Department. The dental center offers a range of services to low-income, uninsured patients, as well as children and adults enrolled in Medicaid, Healthy Kids Dental and MiChild, and the Healthy Michigan Plan.

Local officials and community members attended Thursday’s grand opening event to tour the facility. The building and property was donated by St. Joseph Mercy Livingston and has come a long way since the idea for the facility was developed, according to Health Department Health officer Diane McCormick. She says the center was born from the understanding of an unmet need, noting over 20,000 individuals on Medicaid or Healthy Michigan had no access to dental care. McCormick is next looking to target low-income uninsured senior citizens on Medicare.

The clinic has already made its mark in the community since it began operations a month and a half ago. MCDC Director of Community and Governmental Affairs Kim Singh says in the center’s first 25 days of operation, 372 visits have been provided and 233 patients serviced.

Dentists working within the center say they have encountered community members who became emotional just upon realizing they could be treated. Dr. Paymon Dorri says what stands out to him is how receptive and appreciative the patients and community have been in Livingston County.

County Commissioners Dennis Dolan and Kate Lawrence offered remarks at the celebration, and both agreed that McCormick has been very persistent in her vision for the project since the idea was conceived. Commissioner Lawrence says the dental center is a “dream come true”. (DK)