Dental services return to Granite County for first time in decade


PHILLIPSBURG, Mont. - Imagine having to drive 60 to 150 miles for the closest dentist.

Residents in one southwest Montana county have been doing it for over a decade.

That's because until now dental services have been unavailable for the 3,000 plus people living in Granite County.

Jodi Linn lives in Philipsburg where she's raising her family.

When one of her three kids needed their teeth cleaned Linn would have to drive a minimum of 65 miles to the closest dentist.

"Well, as a mom with 3 kids still at home you can imagine the amount of time I'd be shuttling 3 kids back and forth to the dentist," said Linn.

Linn tells NBC Montana that what's was even worse is the amount of school her kids would miss out on.

"Having kids away from school for potentially 2 to 3 hours versus running over here having their appointment and then back across to school," added Linn.

Officials with the clinic tell me the ball started rolling a couple years ago with a simple survey.

"The residents of Philipsburg indicated that they would like dental services provided for our community," said Peggy Jensen, Physical Therapist at the Granite County Medical Center.

That led to more than 750,000 dollars in state grants for the new clinic, helping young families like Linn's as well as the rest of the town's many older residents.

"They don't have to ask relatives to take them all day to Missoula, Butte or outside of the area for their dental care," said Sharon Fillbach, Project Coordinator for the Granite County Medical Center Dental Program.

The new dentistry section of the Granite County Medical Center is scheduled to be fully functional and operating within the next couple of weeks.

For more information you can contact the Granite County Medical Center at (406) 859-3271.

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