Thundermist Health Center Breaks Ground on New Dental Building

$9 Million Investment Expands Dental Access and Helps to Revitalize Arctic Village

(West Warwick – October 18, 2021) – Thundermist Health Center leaders, board members, local officials, and supporters gathered at the construction site of the new Thundermist of West Warwick dental building at 5 Washington Street for the official groundbreaking ceremony.

The $8.6 million project will serve an additional 5,500 dental patients, implement modern design features to improve the patient experience, and help to revitalize Arctic Village. The 10-month project is expected to conclude in late 2022.

“Today, we celebrate an exciting new endeavor,” said Jeanne LaChance, president/CEO. “Once again, Thundermist Health Center is responding to the needs of the community. This new building will expand dental care to thousands of Rhode Islanders and be part of the revitalization of Arctic Village.”

In 2020, Thundermist provided dental care to patients from nearly every zip code in Rhode Island. The project will increase Thundermist’s ability to provide high-quality dental services to those who need it most – those without insurance and those who face barriers to care, such as people with disabilities and seniors.

The new dental clinic will increase operatories from 12 at our current location to 21 and provide full accessibility for people on stretchers and in wheelchairs.

“We are working hard to ensure access to oral health care for anyone in the state that needs it,” said Chief Dental Officer Eric Prosseda, DMD.  “With more than 1,200 dental patients on our waiting list for care, the need for high-quality dental care for our community has never been greater. We know many Rhode Islanders may find themselves without insurance suddenly and may not know Thundermist offers dental care regardless of ability to pay.”

COVID-19 significantly impacted access to dental care. Many people lost jobs and health insurance benefits, put off routine care, and experienced dental emergencies when dental offices were closed. Fortunately, Thundermist was able to help.

“I was in a very difficult financial situation, and I didn’t know what I would do to take care of my teeth,” said Edward Dalton, a Thundermist dental patient. “I was in a lot of pain and Thundermist told me I needed an emergency extraction. They saw me right away. The experience changed my life and the way I look at dental care.”

Thundermist Health Center embarked on a $1.2 million capital campaign, Building a Community of Smiles, to support the project. Delta Dental of Rhode Island made a leadership gift of $350,000 to the campaign.

“Delta Dental is honored to invest in the future of dental care for this community,” said Joseph Perroni, President & CEO, Delta Dental of Rhode Island. “It is our hope that this new facility will improve the health of the patients in the community. Supporting the Capital Campaign for this initiative has been an exciting effort for our team.”

The expansion will also provide opportunities for workforce development. Thundermist has plans to hire 14 additional dental employees to meet the needs of its patients and community when the project is complete.

Vision 3 Architects designed the project. Bowerman Construction will serve as general contractor.

Thundermist Health Center provides care regardless of ability to pay. Thundermist accepts a range of dental insurances and has sliding scale fees for those who qualify. Thundermist provides dental care to children and adults. Thundermist of West Warwick’s current location is 1219 Main Street.

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Thundermist Health Center is a full-service primary care provider with dental and behavioral health services. The non-profit community health center aims to improve the health of patients and communities by delivering exceptional health care, removing barriers to that care, and advancing healthy lifestyles. Thundermist has locations in West Warwick, Woonsocket, and South County. The organization cares for patients regardless of insurance and ability to pay. In 2020, Thundermist cared for more than 50,000 patients.

Learn more at www.thundermisthealth.org.