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People’s Center Dental Clinic offers comprehensive care

Posted on 25 March 2019 by calvin

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
The People’s Center Dental Clinic, 3152 Minnehaha Ave., provides affordable dental care to individuals and families. The clinic accepts all major insurance plans and has a sliding fee scale for patients without insurance.

Dental office manager Noel Switzer said, “Our 15-person staff includes three dentists and three registered dental hygienists. We have staff fluent in Spanish, Oromo, Amharic, Somalian, and even Italian. We have a diverse patient population, and many of our patients are new to this country. It’s quite possible that a new patient may not have been to the dentist before, but we also have many patients who have lived in the community for years.”

Photo right: Dental office manager Noel Switzer (left) and registered dental hygienist Hassan Moallim (right) of the People’s Center Dental Clinic.. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

The People’s Center Dental Clinic is a non-profit organization funded by grants and the federal government.

“We don’t turn patients away due to inability to pay,” Switzer said, “and we always welcome new patients to our clinic. We provide a comprehensive range of services, and draw patients from across the metro area and as far away as St. Cloud.”

Hassan Moallim is one of the clinic’s three registered dental hygienists and its only Italian speaker. He grew up in Florence, Italy, where his Somalian-born parents met. “I visited Minnesota several times with my family. My aunt and uncle lived here, and I eventually studied English at MCTC for two years. Their support was crucial to my success. In Somalian culture, we believe that the community is collective and that family comes first. My uncle is an internist and my mother is a retired pharmacist. I felt drawn to a career in the health sciences, and decided to become a dental hygienist.”

While studying at Nor­man­dale Community College, Moallim developed a clear sense that he wanted to work in a community dental clinic. “I enjoy the wide range of patients we get here: a lot of artists and people from many different ethnic backgrounds,” he said. “Being a dental hygienist means that you have to be skilled with instruments and tools, but you also have to be very good at working up close with people. We encourage preventive dentistry here, and I think the most important part of preventive dentistry is education. If we do a good job at that, patients will have good results.”

A common factor shared by many people coming to the dentist is anxiety. “We don’t want to scare anybody!” Moallim said. “I’m the official DJ on the lower level of the clinic, and I think hearing beautiful music helps patients to relax. In Italy, music was very prevalent and part of everyday life. This is one way that I can share what I love with my patients.”

You can contact the People’s Center Dental Clinic at 612-332-4973. Clinic hours are Monday-Friday, from 8:30am-4:30pm.

 

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