Clinic News

October volunteer update

(Dr. David Uppgaard, hygienist Cyndee Stull and hygienist Keeley Flavin)

Every month the dental clinic relies on the help and support of volunteer dentists who dedicate their time to make the difference among the Lakota people. They truly play a crucial role in maintaining and improving dental health and quality of life on the Rosebud Reservation. We are very thankful for their service and the impact they have on this community.

On October 6th and 7th, Dr. David Uppgaard, hygienist Cyndee Stull and hygienist Keeley Flavin spent a busy weekend at the clinic, visiting a total of 57 patients and providing them with the care and service they needed. Dr. Uppgaard’s generosity and service in helping the Lakota people has been instrumental in the last 5 years. After arriving at the reservation on a beautiful Thursday evening, the volunteer crew had a warm welcome from Butty, the reservation dog. It seems that he really liked Dr. Uppgaard! The following day volunteers put in 10 hours of work by treating 30 patients from various walks of life. On Saturday, the work at the clinic was busy as usual! Nonetheless, Dr. Uppgaard took the time to see all the patients that visited the clinic on both days of service. Volunteers also had a chance to tour St. Charles Borromeo’s church, also known as the “Purple Church,” and enjoy a 5k run around the reservation. Read their full blog post.

On October 11 and 12, Creighton University students and Dr. Donald Scheidel provided their precious service to 41 patients. Like many other dental students from other universities, Creighton students have been a pillar for the work of the clinic. Without their passionate and constant commitment to helping the Lakota people over the years, access to complete dental care services would not be a reality on the reservation.

Dr. Hawley, an endodontist root canal specialist, provided his service to the clinic by seeing 7 patients on October 13. All patients showed up for the appointments receiving RCT therapy.

These volunteers and many others are the beating heart of the dental clinic. They drive the quality and variety of services provided to the Lakota people across the reservation, such as preventive and diagnostic care, implant services, oral surgery, and many others. If our clinic keeps thriving is because of them!

Behind-the-scenes with dental volunteers

This video provided by Carpenter Dental shows the unique perspective of dental volunteers both in the clinic and after hours with other volunteers. Find out more about the volunteer experience below and apply today.

Indiana University dental student video

Indiana University School of Dentistry student volunteers made a video about their trip to the SFM Dental Clinic and the life-changing experiences they encountered when they arrived in South Dakota. Hear more about their first impressions, lasting impacts, and why they’d come back again.

Indiana University dental student mission trip

Thank you to the dental students of the Indiana University School of Dentistry for sharing their volunteer memories from last summer.

The clinic is always accepting volunteers to help us meet the needs of over 20,000 residents of the Rosebud Dental Clinic.

Visit our Volunteer page for more information.


Volunteer. Donate. Learn More.

Did you know?

  • -40% of Children and 60% of adults on Rosebud Reservation have moderate to urgent dental need
  • -1,000 Native American Children were treated under general anesthesia (for year 2012)
  • -200 people on surgical waiting list
  • -Highest dental decay rate in the nation
  • -Hygienist per Population ratio is 1:2,000

Just Want to Share this Engaging Article

Just thought we would share some good news about St Francis Mission Dental! We had a short but sweet visit with this very proactive group from Rapid City SD….we love the positive philanthropic opportunities that lead to articles in the Rapid City Journal.

Read Article Here


Sometimes it takes a team to make things go right and that is just what this past January’s clinic has done for us here, at St Francis Mission Dental! We were blessed with a visit from Dr. Chad Carpenter’s group, Black Hills Spear Study Club. With an inclusion of Dr. Chad Carpenter DDS, Dr. Kate S. Haave DDS, Dr. Joshua D. Friedman DDS, Dr Sara K. Reausaw DDS, Dr. Chad Meyer DDS and Dr. Scott D. Van Dam DDS.

It was a short, sweet and effective visit enhancing the lives of many individual’s here on the beautiful Rosebud reservation. It certainly was a luxury to have such an expeditious team to meet the needs of 86 patient visits in only one and a half days. We give a big thanks to returning providers as well as initiating new connections to network for future clinics… takes teamwork to make the dream work!



We have had a super busy year with engagement from University of South Dakota Hygiene, University of Indiana School of Dentistry, Delta Dental Mobile Program, local South Dakota Providers, as well as other National providers and a visit from the ADA President. As well as a short, but memorable visit from a Nebraska volunteer. As usual this summer has been motivating to say the least.

University of South Dakota Hygiene along with Jacqueline Johnson an alumni instructor from Texas participated at two different times this summer. We were happy to fulfill outstanding Hygiene appointments and initiate this new exciting relationship for future philanthropic opportunities. It really helps to meet our populations needs through collaboration; it is a win for everyone involved!

We are pleased the University of Indiana school of Dentistry prosthodontic providers had returned, this will have been their third trip here and our patients couldn’t be more thrilled! Together we have found success in meeting the need in patient access to dentures, actually over these few minimal visits about 20 flippers and 10 dentures were delivered. We are humble and appreciative for all their efforts including the coordination in simply getting here with such a big group as they are. It speaks volumes when they do a fundraising event just to travel here…we all love the commitment.

Speaking of commitment, for a week of clinic this summer we have once again worked in collaboration with the Delta Dental Mobile Program in reaching the needs of our populations children. A special thanks to the circle of smiles Hygienist who have also graced us with a positive presence here as well throughout the year in our area schools. In just a week together we make a difference!

We here at St Francis Mission Dental are over joyed with a recent visit form the National ADA President Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays, who in many respects understands our plight and establishment of a foundation for healthy generations. Following the president’s visit was a very appreciated highlight in the National ADA news, which has brought about newly attracted volunteers from across America. Also, a very big thank you to South Dakota Volunteers who have graced us with their presence at such an exciting time. SDDA President Jason Aanenson DDS, President-Elect Dr. Ed Lynch DDS, former presidents Dr. Monty Bechtold DDS, Dr. Bruce Wintle DDS from Huron, Dr. Timothy J. Kappenman DDS, from Sioux Falls and Dr. Jay Crossland DDS and staff from Rapid City, we appreciate all you have done for St Francis Mission Dental Clinic.

On our roster and a gracious volunteer traveling from Nebraska, we appreciate the kind donation of time from Dr. Emily Willet DDS. With your kind heart and dedication to help establish value in each patients’ oral health investment goes hand in hand with our plight, thank you dearly.

In addition, Dr Dan Woods from Ohio along with Rose Mettei from Delaware were a delight for a week.  We were also happy to see east-coasters Dr. Sal Verano from Long Island had a first-time visit, Dr. Carl Farriera returned from Road Island to grace us with his skills and new comers from Washington Doctors, Tristram Kruger, Charles Dietrich, Dr. Gael Delany to provide both general dentistry services along with endo to assist our patient base.

Last but not least I must mention South Dakotas’ very own new comers Dr Abigail Faul DDS from Huron, Dr. Michael Hawley from Watertown, and Hill Citys very own Dr. Melissa Rupert DDS.

It has been a pleasure to host all providers and learn what works best for us all…ultimately, we appreciate you taking the time from your busy schedules to volunteer, Thank you!

We look forward to any engagement from future or past volunteers. Together we make smiles healthy and happy!


Dr. Summerhays visits Rosebud Reservation

The St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic welcomed both national and local dental association representatives during July.

American Dental Association President Dr. Carol Summerhays visited the dental clinic to witness the need for free dental care being provided by South Dakota Dental Association volunteers. During the four-day week, volunteers saw 170 patients and provided almost $40,000 in services.

Alongside clinic manager and Lakota tribe member Marty Jones, five leaders of the SDDA served at the Mission clinic throughout the week: Paul Knecht, Executive Director of the SDDA; Dr. Jason Aanenson, SDDA President; Dr. Ed Lynch, SDDA President-Elect; Dr. Ed Vigna, retired; and Dr. Monty Bechtold.

Read the full article here!


Clinic Manager Marty Jones, American Dental Association President Dr. Carol Summerhays, and Father John Hatcher.

Playing Catch Up

Many times we have to play catch up, ensuring all data is entered properly…being a volunteer clinic can be a challenge when we must make sure every last patient file is perfectly entered! These files pictured below are from two weeks’ worth of clinic patients, 196 patient appointments to be exact. We double check patient information along with ensuring all information for services match a digital record, as well as updating treatment plans. Once you have an initial exam appointment we can start a treatment plan for patients, because without having a treatment plan, we just do not know what you need or where to fit you in an upcoming clinic schedule.

After clinic is over playing catch up can be a daunting task, but it is well worth it to make progress happen. As you can see our Sterilization room and Lobby are in need of some TLC after a clinic, the work is never ending but none-the-less very fitting for our commitment to progress.

It takes hard work and commitment to prove success, we here at St Francis Mission Dental want all of our upcoming clinics to be a success! Thank you again to all the hard working, put a foot forward in the right direction for the right cause, sacrifice your time individual volunteers…. you are appreciated and needed!!!!!

Volunteerism is a blessing!

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Upcoming Events

  • March 19, 2018Univ. of Indiana
  • April 9, 2018University of Nebraska Student Clinic
  • April 16, 2018Pedo clinic
  • April 30, 2018Denture clinic Dr. Nels Ewoldsen
  • May 9, 2018Dr. Susi Fallazedeh (Kentucky) and Kaylee RDH
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