Dental Hygienist Wins News 5 Jefferson Award

The offices at Community Dental Health in Colorado Springs look like any other dental practice. The big difference: the prices.

“It may be $10 for a filling, $10 for an extraction, or $60 for a denture,” said Michelle Vacha.

Vacha is the founder and executive director of Community Dental Health. She is determined to keep prices low but care high.

“Even though we’re a charity there’s an misperception that you’re receiving a $10 filling you’re not receiving the top care,” said Vacha. “You’re receiving the top-quality care. There is no difference in the care that you receive just because you’re not paying $100, 200, $500.”

Her dream to have this practice started with a mission to bring care to people who simply were not getting it.

“The nursing home residents weren’t getting their teeth brushed on a daily basis,” she said.

Vacha left private practice as a dental hygienist and in 2006 created the non-profit Senior Mobile Dental bringing services to nursing homes and anywhere seniors gathered.

“Colorado was the very first state nationally that allowed a hygienist to practice outside at the dental office,” she said.

At first, Vacha was giving her services away for a free or very low cost. When asked how she was able to afford that, Vacha said, “I was a low-income family and even though that was hard it was one of the greatest experiences because we walked that walk of the people that I am serving now, too.”

When asked why she was willing to do that, Vacha replied, “The need and to do something that was right.”

As the need got bigger and bigger, she established two dental offices now called Community Dental Health.

“I have dentists, oral surgeons, denture technicians, dental hygienists, and all the supporting staff.” she said.

Patient Richard Clark says getting the dental care he needed simply was not affordable on his fixed income. He said finding Community Dental Health was a godsend.

“It was just breaking the bank on social security and my military retirement,” Clark said.

Clark says the staff treats you more like a dear friend than a patient.

“The staff is phenomenal,” Clark said. “They are courteous and kind. They’re not looking at status. They see with someone who needs help and they are here to guide.”

Community dental health is open to any adult in our community. They have offices in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. For more information click here: https://communitydentalhealth.org/.

The Jefferson Awards were started by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1972. The award has honored the incredible spirit and unique accomplishments of over 63,000 national and local heroes who have demonstrated selfless public service. To nominate someone for a News 5 Jefferson Award click here: https://www.koaa.com/community/jefferson-awards
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