New Dental Building Expands Care to Thousands of Rhode Islanders
State-of-the-Art Building is Centerpiece of Arctic Village Revitalization
(West Warwick – July 24, 2023) – Thundermist Health Center leaders, board members, supporters, and local officials gathered to celebrate the ribbon cutting for a new West Warwick dental facility at 5 Washington Street. This new, state-of-the-art building will increase access to high-quality dental care for more than 5,500 Rhode Islanders.
Every year, Thundermist receives more than 45,000 phone calls from people all over Rhode Island in need of dental care. This $8.6 million investment in the community will bring needed dental care to nearly 6,000 more people.
This new dental site will help alleviate long waits for care. “I care for patients every day and see firsthand the need for high-quality dental care,” said Eric Prosseda, DMD, chief dental officer.
“The need in our community has never been greater. This new dental building will help ensure our community has access to the care they need.”
The new space is bright and spacious. It features 21 dental operatories where patients will receive dental care. It was purposefully built in a trauma-informed way, understanding that patients have unique needs to consider in design. For example, each dental room is built with two-door egresses making them feel open. The design helps alleviate anxiety many patients feel when visiting the dentist. Large windows bring natural light into rooms. The design and features consider each patient’s unique needs.
Thundermist Health Center’s mission is to provide care to everyone regardless of ability to pay. Thundermist accepts most insurances and offers a sliding scale fee based on income and family size. People who are often turned away by other dental providers due to inability to pay can get care at Thundermist. The health center also has a social services team, including insurance navigators who can help patients get enrolled in coverage.
“When I came to my first visit at the new building, I couldn’t believe how spacious and comfortable I felt in a dental office. This new building is so exciting because now even more people, just like me, can get dental care even if they can’t pay,” said Edward Dalton, a Thundermist dental patient. “When I first came to Thundermist, I was in a very difficult financial situation, and I didn’t know what I would do to take care of my teeth. 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.” Now, more Rhode Islanders will have access to the dental care they need, no matter what, just like Edward.
Thundermist hired 14 additional dental employees to meet the needs of its patients and community. More than 40 health care professionals work in the building. The building was funded in part by a $1.6 million capital campaign with gifts from Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, Centreville Bank, and many other generous donors.
Delta Dental of Rhode Island was the first community partner to invest in the project. Their gift helped create momentum to make the building a reality.
“Delta Dental of Rhode Island is proud to support Thundermist’s West Warwick expansion,” said Joseph R. Perroni, president & CEO of Delta Dental of Rhode Island. “At Delta Dental, we are committed to creating a meaningful, long-lasting, positive impact in the communities we serve. By working with organizations like Thundermist, we are supporting our mission of creating more equitable access to high-quality dental care.”
“We are immensely grateful for our generous donors and community partners who supported the ‘Building a Community of Smiles’ capital campaign,” said Jeanne LaChance, president & CEO of Thundermist Health Center. “We are happy to remain a part of Arctic Village and bring a long-vacant building back to life.”
The new building is in the heart of Arctic Village in downtown West Warwick. The location is easy for patients to access with several parking options and public transportation nearby. Thundermist worked closely with town officials to revitalize a long-vacant building.
“The new Thundermist Dental building fits perfectly into our revitalization plan,” said Jim Marsh, chair of the Arctic Village Redevelopment Agency. “We look forward to working with Thundermist on future projects in our community as the services they provide are critical to our communities’ health and wellbeing. On behalf of the Arctic Redevelopment Agency, we wish you and your employees our best wishes for a long and successful impact to our Town.”
This ribbon cutting marks the beginning of creating a solution to a larger issue at hand; people are struggling to receive the quality dental care that they need and deserve. It is Thundermist’s goal to continue the work of expansion to ensure that Rhode Islanders get necessary care.
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 2022, Thundermist cared for nearly 58,000 patients.
Learn more at www.thundermisthealth.org.