Aspen Dental to open new practice in EC in 2020
By Jon Hawley
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Elizabeth City is slated to get a new dental practice in about a year, when national network Aspen Dental aims to open a new location on Halstead Boulevard Extended.
Construction of the new building housing the dental practice will start late this year and the office should open by the early second quarter of 2020, according to an Aspen spokeswoman.
Elizabeth City officials have also signed off on the site plan for the new practice, which will be built at the corner of Halstead Boulevard Extended and Tanglewood Parkway, and occupy just under half of a 7,400-square-foot building.
Aspen Dental, of East Syracuse, N.Y., is a dental care network with more than 750 locations across 39 states, according to Kasey Pickett, Aspen’s senior director of communications. The network is also planning a lot of growth in North Carolina. Its first offices in the state opened in Morganton and High Point this year, and it’s planning to open eight more offices in 2019, followed by five more in 2020, including in Elizabeth City.
Though Elizabeth City is home to several dental practices, Pickett explained the area still faces a shortage of providers. Pasquotank County is a dental “health professional shortage area,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, she said in a statement. “Nearly 80 percent” of Aspen offices nationwide are located in such shortage areas, she added.
Pickett said more than one in three American adults didn’t visit a dentist last year, often because of cost.
Providers still need to be hired for Aspen’s Elizabeth City office, but it will include 10 to 12 people, including one or more dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, denture lab technician and front office staff, Pickett said.
Pickett described the planned Elizabeth City office as a “full-service practice” whose services will include exams, X-rays, cleanings and other hygiene services, extractions, fillings, surgery, whitening, and restoration work such as crowns and bridges. It will also have a denture lab.
To try to fit patients’ schedules, the office will also offer extended hours, including evenings and some Saturdays, and welcome walk-ins and emergency visits, she added.
Pickett said Aspen doesn’t accept Medicaid patients, but tries to keep its prices low. She touted that Aspen works with all insurance providers, offers free new-patient exams and X-rays for patients without dental insurance. The company also also offers financing options.
Asked whether Aspen would provide local charity care, Pickett didn’t commit to a specific amount, but highlighted Aspen’s “Healthy Mouth Movement,” a program that provides free care for military veterans. Since its inception in 2014, the program has provided $15 million in free care to more than 20,000 veterans, she said.
In announcing Aspen Dental’s decision earlier this month, City Manager Rich Olson said he welcomed another dental office coming to Elizabeth City. He also explained the office will occupy 3,500 square feet, and the remainder of the building, to be located at 3875 Conlon Way, will be available for other tenants.
He also noted that construction of the Aspen office may happen alongside construction of Elizabeth City’s second Taco Bell restaurant.