MANKATO — When the Minnesota State University dental program announced its first event for free dental care for senior citizens, spots filled up quickly.
“We have 72 signed up, which is great. It will be a busy day,” said faculty member and dental clinic coordinator Alyssa Delgado.
The Senior Smiles event Thursday provided free dental cleanings, X-rays, exams and fluoride treatment.
“We do a couple events a year. One for veterans and one for kids,” Delgado said. “We really decided catering to seniors was near and dear to our hearts.”
She said many seniors don’t have dental insurance because dental coverage is not covered by Medicare and seniors have to buy a separate dental insurance policy to get coverage. “So you have some people who haven’t been to the dentist for a long time.”
Delgado said the event is also valuable for the students, whose work on patients is overseen by faculty members.
“It’s great for students to work with people who have complex needs, restorations and things like that.”
The dental program faculty and students are enjoying their relatively new digs inside the new Clinical Sciences Building that opened in 2017 on Warren Street, next to Taylor Center on the university campus.
The building includes a spacious, circular dental clinic with dozens of spaces with dental chairs and equipment.
“We were in the basement of Morris Hall before, so this is a treat, all the windows and light,” Delgado said.
The new $27 million building finally came together after receiving state funding nearly two decades after MSU leaders first envisioned a new building for the College of Allied Health and Nursing.
The building is home to the School of Nursing, Dental Hygiene and Speech, Hearing and Rehabilitation Services departments.