skip mobile navigation
Aa Aa Aa

The Loop

Stay in The Loop. Find out what's
happening in the Fox Valley Region
through the Community Foundation.

Happy Birthday Tri-County Dental! Impacting Lives for 20 years

Tri-County Dental Clinic exists because people in this community care deeply and want to ensure everyone has access to high-quality, affordable dental care.    

Tri-County’s model has worked for 20 years because of caring dentists who come together and donate their time. Overall, more than 200 dentists have volunteered their time and expertise; nearly 90 dentists volunteer each year.    

Relationships with Marquette University School of Dentistry and Fox Valley and Northeast Wisconsin Technical Colleges allow our patients to receive high-level care and train our future dental workforce.   

How Tri-County Cares for the Community  

Long-time volunteers! (Left to Right) Drs. Tim Brown, Lisa Lang-Riegel, Jim Springborn, Phil Florek, Loren Swanson.

The Robert Glass Focus on the Children (RGFOC) program provides free dental care for children, and our mobile clinic allows us to treat kids at school in seven school districts. We remove the transportation barrier and reduce the amount of time kids are out of their classrooms. In the first six months of 2023, we treated nearly 3,000 children at their grade schools. When school isn’t in session, we travel to partners including the Boys & Girls Clubs and Rawhide.   

Operation Dental Care offers free, full-service dental treatment for qualifying veterans and spouses. Already in 2023, Tri-County has provided care for 71 veterans over 117 visits.

Wetherbee Orthodontic program, since its inception, has built self-confidence and healthy smiles by completing treatment in more than 110 kids at no cost to their families.    

Tri-County also provides emergency walk-in care for five people each day on average. Getting adults and children out of pain and back to work and school is a vital part of our work and helps to keep people out of local Emergency Departments.   

What makes it happen 

A key component is the donors who provide the financial support to make the mobile clinics and the daily clinic operations possible. Running a nonprofit dental clinic with a mobile clinic is an expensive proposition. We spend $200 each day on gloves alone, keeping our patients and team healthy and safe. The expense of each mobile clinic trip is about $2,000. 

(Left to Right) Ann Kloehn, Sandy Drexler, Pat Meier, Ann Engelhard.

Since our inception, Tri-County Dental has received more than $2.8 million from 80 funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. We open our doors, turn on our lights, purchase cutting-edge equipment to improve the patient and volunteer experience, rev up the engines and care for our community thanks to this generous support.  

The need and the future 

Does the need still exist?  

In the time that our clinic has been open, the number of students in the Oshkosh, Appleton and Neenah School districts alone who qualify for our services has gone from 24% to an astounding 41%. In 2022-2023, 12,747 children qualified for services – an increase of 5,572.    

It’s not an easy answer, but there are several components that must be part of the solution:  

  • More volunteer dentists  
  • More staff 
  • New partnerships 
  • Ongoing financial support 

With appreciation for 20 amazing years, thank you to everyone who has been part of our organization. Ideally, the need for our services is eradicated. If it continues to exist 20 years from now, we would like to be here again celebrating Tri-County Dental caring for people in our community.   

What does a Community Foundation do? Glad you asked! Learn more here.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.