Dental Connections, Inc.

Building a community of smiles

aka Dental Connections, Inc.   |   Des Moines, IA   |


To provide equal access to quality dental care and education through community outreach and meaningful patient connections.

Ruling year info


President/Executive Director

Carly Ross

Main address

1111 9th St Ste 190

Des Moines, IA 50314 USA

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Formerly known as

Des Moines Health Center



NTEE code info

Ambulatory Health Center, Community Clinic (E32)

Public Health Program (E70)

IRS filing requirement

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Dental Connections Main Clinic

This is our main clinic and is the largest of our programs. The clinic is located in down town Des Moines in the United Way building, and we are considered an agency of United Way of Central Iowa. Our dental clinic has 17 operatories and 10 dentists.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Smile Squad program has 3 initiatives that operate under it, the Mobile Dental Clinic, Little Healthy Smiles, and Healthy Smiles. Little Healthy Smiles provides oral health education, screenings, and fluoride varnish treatments to children in Head Start and preschool programs, with any follow up referral needs to a dentist. The Healthy Smiles initiative provides oral health screenings and education to 2nd and 3rd graders in elementary school locations. With this program, any dental treatment needs are referred to our Smile Squad Mobile Dental Clinic for follow up. Our Mobile Dental Clinics consist of 2 custom built, two-chair, mobile dental RVs. These RVs go out and park at the elementary schools to provide dental services on site to the children in need of care. Services available on these units include, but are not limited to, exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, crowns, and extractions.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Infants and toddlers

The Nolden Gentry Dental Clinic is the newest addition to the Des Moines Health Center family. This clinic is a fully functioning, two operatory dental clinic that has been opened in partnership with Des Moines Public Schools with funding support from Delta Dental of Iowa and Mid Iowa Health Foundation. This clinic is open to provide services specifically to enrolled students of the Des Moines Public School district and is located directly in the Scavo High school in downtown Des Moines!

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Dental Connections has a mission to reduce oral health disparities in Central Iowa. Beyond this, we aim to serve any individual in need, even if it goes beyond direct dental care. We have staff that work with individuals to help connect them to other community resources for services we cannot offer, we help with any support they may need to understand what insurances they may qualify for or help qualify them for our discounts if they cannot obtain any insurance support.

Through our multiple school programs, our goal is to decrease the number of pre-school and school aged children with cavities, to educate them on oral health care, and to provide follow up information to the children, the school nurses, and the families for further care the children may need.

Dental Connections is highly dependent on and appreciative of community relationships that help with our goals. We work directly with United Way of Central Iowa, Mid Iowa Health Foundation, Prairie Meadows, Anonymous Donors, the Des Moines Public Schools, Polk County Early Childhood Iowa, Delta Dental Foundation of Iowa, EveryStep, and many other community organizations to be successful.

Our strategy is to work with wonderful organizations such as these, to ensure we are offering our services to anyone within the community that may need them. In turn, we find that we are able to offer the services of these partner organizations to our patients, which creates a long standing relationship and support system for individuals within our community.

Dental Connections has close relationships with multiple community organizations that have been built based on the mutual focus of serving our community in need. There are so many local organizations that have the same mission, to help the under served, and we are simply lucky to be a part of that group.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Under and uninsured residents of Polk, Dallas and Warren counties in Central Iowa needing access to quality oral health care.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Revenue Well, Facebook and Google reviews,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We are a busy clinic, and we field a lot of calls each day. Our previous phone system did not allow patients to be placed on hold, only for the phone to ring continuously until someone answered. Patients shared that it was sometimes difficult to get through to schedule an appointment. This feedback challenged Dental Connections to find a new phone system that better suited the patients’ needs. Patients are now able to be placed on hold during busy times, and we can attend to them as quickly as possible.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    One of the largest ways we learn from our patients is through our interactions with them at the clinic. Part of our mission is to develop meaningful patient connections, so we make an effort to learn more about our patients when they’re here. Staff is trained to check in with the patient during treatment to make sure they are comfortable the whole time. Patients are encouraged to raise their hand if they are uncomfortable or need to say something during treatment. This has given them a better sense of control, and the ability to speak up to get their needs met.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,


Dental Connections, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Dental Connections, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 04/19/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Maggie Ramold

Bridget Drendel

Project7 Design

Maggie Rammold

Lincoln Savings bank

Kourtney Kirkpatrick

Home, Inc.

Emily Dobbins

Metro Waste Authority

Amy Howells


Dennis Tibben

IA Medical Society

Jim Hoyt


Michael Broderick


Ali Pourian

Self Employed

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/19/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/13/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.