Our mission is to create lasting oral health for the underserved children and adults in Santa Cruz County and neighboring communities. Dientes provides bilingual care at two clinics, one in Santa Cruz and one in Watsonville. Our main, mid-county, fifteen-chair facility in Santa Cruz is open six days a week. We also provide services 5 days a week at the Watsonville Dental & Health Center and once a week at our Outreach clinic at the Homeless Services Center in Santa Cruz.
We provide oral health education, hygiene and general dentistry. Further, pediatric dentistry is offered in the Helen Webster Children’s Dental Center, a 7-chair pediatric wing at our Santa Cruz clinic. Focused on offering the highest quality facility and comprehensive care, 98% of our patients are satisfied with their care, as evidenced by our annual satisfaction survey.
Dientes is one of only two providers in the county providing sliding scale fees for low-income people. We operate three programs that help combat the two biggest barriers to care: cost and transportation. Our Outreach Program brings services to 35 different venues throughout Santa Cruz County, our Dientes Cares Program helps make dental care available to all, and Specialty Care brings access to endodontics and oral surgery services to low-income residents of our region.
Smiles are important! They’re with us at some our life’s best moments. A healthy smile enables us to be productive members of society, building confidence and enabling us to lead healthy lives. Watch our video on the “Power of a Smile!”
Dientes was started in 1992 by a few local private dentists, who wanted to provide care for the low-income population with no other place to go. We operated at 3 different locations prior to consolidating our services in 2003 at our Santa Cruz clinic. During our first full year at the Santa Cruz clinic, we provided approximately 9,000 dental visits. Due to the introduction of electronic health records in 2008, the addition of Registered Dental Assistants with Extended Functions (RDA-EFs), and the growth of clinic space in Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Homeless Services Center, we are now providing more than 35,000 visits to 10,000 patients each year.