Family Health Centers opens dental clinic in Oroville

Some of the staff of the new Family Medical Center Dental Clinic in Oroville (L-R) Mercedes Hand, Genoveva Lopez, Amber Utt, Dr. Robert Dillard and Dr. Lavonne Hammelman.

Some of the staff of the new Family Medical Center Dental Clinic in Oroville (L-R) Mercedes Hand, Genoveva Lopez, Amber Utt, Dr. Robert Dillard and Dr. Lavonne Hammelman.

OROVILLE – The Okanogan Family Health Center has opened a new dental clinic in Oroville, celebrating their grand opening April 21 with a ribbon cutting.

The new dental clinic was funded through a $100,000 grant from the Washington Dental Services Foundation and Berhard Dental helped with furnishing the equipment, according to Michael Hassing, director of the Okanogan Family Health Centers, which in addition to the Oroville clinic runs medical clinics in Okanogan, Brewster and Tonasket and dental clinics in Okanogan and Brewster.

The new dental clinic, which has three modern examining rooms, is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday with two dentists, Dr. Lavonne Hammelman and Dr. Bob Dillard each taking two days a week, according to Hassing. Saturdays are particularly set aside for children. The clinic will also see walk-ins and emergency patients.

The clinic is outfitted with the latest in equipment, including digital radiography, that allows the dentist to see a digital X-ray and exposes the patient to much less radiation. This also allows the dentist to keep a digital record for the patient and the X-ray can be viewed by other dentists if another opinion is needed.

“Electric medical and dental records can be brought up from the other Family Health Clinics,” said Hassing.

The dentists at the clinic plan on seeing between 16 to 18 patients a day to begin with. Payment will be based on a sliding scale according to the patient’s ability to pay, with many of the children treated through DSHS.

“Our target is to see about 70 percent children,” Hassing said. “Anyone can come here, about 4 percent of our patients have private insurance.”

“One reason for the new clinic in Oroville is that Family Health Center’s Dental Clinic in Okanogan had 3400 visits from patients from the Oroville, Tonasket and the surrounding area,” Hassing said.

“The year before that it was 3000. It makes a lot of sense to open this clinic in Oroville,” adds Hassing, who said the Brewster Clinic was opened in 2007 and has been “busy since day one.”

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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