Kool Smiles has actively sought out partnership opportunities with community health centers since 2010, when it opened its first integrated location at Community HealthNet in Gary, Indiana. The practice remodeled both the lobby and dental space of the community health center, allowing it to serve more patients and adding a TV and children’s activities to create a welcoming waiting area. Kool Smiles also implemented a new practice management system, as well as updated X-ray equipment. After just three months, these improvements led to an 88 percent increase in dental patient volume, garnering praise from Community HealthNet and legislative support from Indiana lawmakers.
Kool Smiles hopes to implement the Gary model at other community health centers across the United States in order to assist them in turning their unused space into an opportunity to serve more patients. In addition to helping community health centers to fulfill their federal responsibility to provide dental care, Kool Smiles allows them to direct the bulk of their resources to medical care and mental health services.