Dental services expanding in Mountain Area

Staff at the recently opened Camarena Health Dental Center include, from left, Registered Dental Assistant Lorette Betcher, RDA Laura Gutierrez RDA, Dr. Paul Johnson, and RDA Denise Ringler.
Staff at the recently opened Camarena Health Dental Center include, from left, Registered Dental Assistant Lorette Betcher, RDA Laura Gutierrez RDA, Dr. Paul Johnson, and RDA Denise Ringler. Sierra Star

Two well-established dental practices recently added an Oakhurst site, giving Mountain Area residents more options when it comes to dental care.

Yosemite Dental Care

Yosemite Dental Care, originally started by Dr. Thomas Wieg in Mariposa in 1984, has expanded to the Oakhurst area, now located in the former dental practice of Dr. David Essex.

Recently, Triton Dental LLC, made up of business partners Robert Kurtz, Halvor Halversen and lead dentist Dr. Timothy Wieg (son of Thomas), purchased the Oakhurst business on Road 426 to establish a second dental office under the same name of Yosemite Dental Care.

“We are extremely excited to become a part of the Oakhurst community,” Halversen said, “and to be able to present further opportunities for patients to better their oral health."

Essex will continue providing dental services through Triton Dental, LLC until his retirement.

“I have been lobbying Yosemite Dental Care in Mariposa for years, stating that when they were ready, I would transfer my patients over,” Essex said. “This gives my patients a whole family of dentists to care for them and it gives me the satisfaction of providing a ‘local boy’ in a strongly knit family, to ‘come home.’ It turns out, I got a much better deal than I bargained for, because the team comes with partners who have spent years accumulating various degrees and knowledge specializing in how to best present dentistry to the public, and how to make it the most accessible for people. Their ideas are really exciting. Every time they tell me one of their incredible ideas, I just tell them, ‘I think you guys are nuts,’ and they just smile.”

Yosemite Dental Care offers a unique approach to dentistry, providing unlimited, free preventive dental work (teeth cleanings, dental exams, and x-rays) all year long. They also provide an alternative form of financial coverage for those with limited dental insurance or no insurance at all, called the In-Office Dental Plan. This plan allows patients to receive 20% off all restorative procedures (crowns, fillings, implants, dentures) put on a payment plan up to 6 months, and 25% off all restorative procedures if paid on the same day of the procedure.

“The whole idea for our approach to dentistry is that we want to put the patient first,” Halversen explained. “We aim to eliminate the common barriers individuals face hindering them from taking care of their oral health. If people can’t afford to consistently get their teeth cleaned, that is no longer a problem with our free preventive care. If people have difficulties lining up appointment times with their busy schedule, we have expanded hours so that they can come in after work or school. If people don’t have dental insurance, we have them covered with our In-Office Dental Plan, providing financial options to ensure that they are fully capable of staying on top of their oral health.”

Initially, the practice will be open 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and within 12-18 months, the goal is to be open to patients seven days a week.

“Oakhurst has been very good to me,” Essex added, “and now with this team becoming a part of the community, I have more than returned the favor.”

Yosemite Dental Care Oakhurst is located at 49722 Road 426, Suite 104; (559) 666-4788, or www.yosemite.dental.

Camarena Dental Health Center

After three months of remodeling and renovations, Camarena Health recently opened its first Dental Health Center in Oakhurst, located next door to its existing medical health center on Road 426.

The dental center will offer comprehensive preventative care and restorative dental care, including fillings, crowns and dentures or denture repair. Discount programs will be offered, as well as a sliding fee scale for those who don’t qualify for insurance coverage.

The main objective is to meet the increased dental needs of the residents of Eastern Madera County.

“We are excited about the opportunity to provide affordable, quality dental services to the residents of Eastern Madera County,” said Paulo Soares, CEO of Camarena Health. “We have received consistent requests by our patients and members of the community for affordable dental services, and are happy to respond to their needs.”

Currently, the center has one dentist - Dr. Paul Johnson, who has worked in dentistry for 40 years.

“Our patient pool has doubled since we opened,” Johnson said, “and we’re building our patient numbers daily. There was an obvious need for affordable dental care here. What I’m finding is that most patients come in for exams, and have made appointments for treatments.”

The office is open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Thursdays. Once the practice is fully staffed, including adding a second full-time dentist, the goal is to remain open five days a week. Dental hygienists will rotate out of the Madera site.

This dental center marks Camarena Health’s eighth health center site within Madera County, currently providing medical, dental, behavioral health, optometry, health education, pharmacy and laboratory services to the communities of Oakhurst, Madera, and Chowchilla.

Camarena Dental Health Center is located at 49127 Road 426, Suites 1 & 2; (559) 642-6724.