El Paso, Texas (KTSM) – In honor of National Dentist Day, Encanto Dental Group has given the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center of El Paso $25,000.

The gift will provide financial help to dental patients in underserved communities.

The Encanto Dental Group has a long history of supporting the Borderland by improving access to quality dental care, according to a news release announcing the gift.

“Residents of this region, especially those in rural communities, have faced shortages of both physicians and dentists for decades, which inevitably impacts their health and well-being,” Encanto Dental Group’s Joshua Elliss, D.D.S.

“This university has already made an impact by providing more physicians for the region, and the Hunt School of Dental Medicine is doing the same by educating the future of dentistry for the Borderplex. We believe that everyone deserves access to quality dental care, and we’re honored to help make a difference in the lives of those who need it most,” Elliss continued.

In honor of Encanto’s gift, a state-of-the-art surgical suite in the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic will be named after the business.

As part of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine, the clinic allows dental students to gain hands-on skills under faculty supervision, while offering reduced-cost dental care to Borderplex residents.

Since the school opened in 2021, students and staff have experienced over 5,000 patient visits, providing more than 7,100 hours of clinical care.

“Their support will allow us to help more patients receive the care they need to maintain good oral health,” said Richard Black, D.D.S., M.S., dean of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine.

According to Texas Tech, West Texas and New Mexico have a history of dental health disparities. Many individuals in the Borderplex region struggle to access dental care due to financial barriers, lack of insurance, and a shortage of providers, the university said in announcing the gift.

As of 2019, there were 51.5 dentists per 100,000 residents in New Mexico, ranking the state 37th in dentists per capita for the U.S., according to a release sent out by Texas Tech.

In addition, 32 of the 33 counties in New Mexico are federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas in Dental Health. This includes the nearby counties of Doña Ana, Otero, Lincoln and Hidalgo.

For more than a decade, the Encanto Dental Group has served residents of New Mexico in their five regional offices. In 2023, Encanto will open Sonrisa Family Dental, their first office in El Paso and West Texas.

Individuals and organizations wishing to contribute to the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and its mission of training the next generation of dental care professionals can visit www.give2tech.com/elpaso/contact, or call (915) 215-5943.