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New Dental Office Brings Smiles to Custer, SD

Aeriel View of Custer, SD

After years without accessible dental services, residents in Custer, SD, are smiling again after the opening of Custer Dental Studio. The addition has not only allowed residents the ability to receive essential dental care closer to home, but it has also had other positive impacts on the Custer community and economy since opening in 2021.

The Journey to Accessible Dental Care

Between 2018 and 2020, Custer County was the only county in South Dakota that did not have a dentist. The lack of nearby dental clinics forced residents to drive over an hour away to seek treatment in neighboring counties, with many stopping dental care completely.

Recognizing the impact created by the absence of a local dentist, the Custer Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) identified dentistry as a vital need for the Custer community. One crucial step in the plan was to find a qualified dentist. To achieve that goal, the CAEDC joined forces with the City of Custer, Custer County, and the South Dakota State Department of Health to award the Recruitment Assistant Program Grant to Dr. Kari Bolen, DDS.

Opening Doors to Dental Health

A South Dakota native that is passionate about giving back to her home state, Dr. Kari Bolen moved from Sioux Falls to Custer to help the community with their dental care needs. In 2021, Dr. Bolen purchased and renovated an existing dental and created Custer Dental Studio, establishing accessible dental care for the people of Custer.

With the mission of providing clean, modern, and local dental care to adults and children in Custer, Custer Dental Studio offers comprehensive services such as exams, cleanings, fillings, crowns, extractions, implants, clear braces, and emergency care. The clinic houses some of the best technology in the dental industry, including a 3D printer and an in-house dental lab for processing same-day crowns.

Since opening in 2021, the clinic has completed over 2,600 adult cleanings, 375 child cleanings, and completed over 800 dental emergency exams.

Enriching the Custer Community

Custer Dental Studio has provided much more than dental care to the community over the past three years. The dental clinic has created nine jobs within Custer, and the families of the employees have enrolled their children as new students in the Custer school system.

The dental office also prioritizes supporting local businesses and has volunteered at many community events including Gold Discovery Days, Custer Scrubs Camp, and chamber events. Regular donations are also made by the clinic to The Storehouse, a food pantry serving Custer residents in need. In 2024, Custer Dental Studio was awarded “Business of the Year” from the Custer American Legion Post #46 for their generous contributions to the Custer community.

The Future of Dental Care in Custer

The opening of Custer Dental Studio marks a significant milestone for Custer. It stands as a beacon of progress and a reminder of the power of community initiative. In June 2024, the dental office will receive the final portion of the Recruitment Assistance Program Grant, allowing Dr. Bolen and her team to continue to provide quality dental care to Custer County for many years to come.

Thanks to the support from CAEDC, the City of Custer, Custer County, and the State of South Dakota, the residents of Custer, SD, are smiling again.