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Lynn Sheffield Simmons: Denton Dental Mission announces new partnership

The Place is Argyle

The Denton Dental Mission at 1010 N. Elm St. held an open house recently to acquaint visitors with the updated facility and to learn how a new partnership with Vision Ministries of Denton Bible Church and First Refuge Ministries of First Baptist Church will provide free dental care for those in need.

The Denton clinic will serve people who live north of Lewisville Lake, which includes Argyle, while the Christian Community Action Dental Clinic in Lewisville will take patients to the south.

Dr. Rodney Chowning and Dr. Clay Pickering sponsored the open house and are volunteer dentists at the facility. Brenda Eckel, medical clinic coordinator at First Refuge Ministries, agreed to help them until a dental clinic coordinator could be hired.

Dr. Ted Trippe began the Denton Dental Mission four years ago. He worked every Wednesday and some Fridays, and his wife, Wileen, became a scheduling volunteer last fall. Now that Trippe is in his 80s, he is retiring at the end of May.

Vision Ministries approached First Refuge Ministries about taking over the dental mission, and it agreed to help keep the mission operating. A cooperative agreement was then worked out between First Refuge Ministries of First Baptist Church and Vision Ministries of Denton Bible Church to continue the current services and to add more services as volunteers became available. First Refuge Ministries is now in the process of hiring a coordinator who will oversee the day-to-day operations, and it is also working on grants to purchase equipment and supplies.

Eckel said the criteria for becoming a patient at the DDM are that you have no dental insurance and an income of less than $20,000 in a one-person household or not more than $30,000 in a multi-person household.

She said that Vision Ministries of Denton Bible Church has always done the screening and qualifying for the DDM. After the screening, the person is now given a voucher to take to First Refuge Ministries to get a medical screening for hypertension, diabetes, infection, etc. If the medical issues are stable, the person is given an appointment at the DDM.

The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. The services offered by DDM are X-rays, cleaning, scaling, extractions, fillings and even some root canals.

As dentists turn in their applications to volunteer at the clinic, it will be open more days and have longer hours. At the present time, there are 25 volunteers including receptionists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and dentists, but more volunteers are needed in other areas.

Pickering, DDM board member and co-chairman of the Dental Committee, said, “It is an honor and a privilege for me to serve the poor. Jesus reminds us that our service to those in difficult circumstances or persistent poverty is a service unto him. I am blessed to be a part of this Denton Dental Mission, and am grateful for the support of Vision Ministries and First Refuge Ministries.”

For more information, contact Brenda Eckel, First Refuge Ministries, 1701 Broadway, Denton, TX 76201, or call 940-222-4178.


Argyle Senior Center

The Argyle Senior Center meets every Wednesday and Friday at the Argyle Town Hall Community Room, 308 Denton St., with exercise at 10 a.m. followed by card games at 11 a.m.

For more information, call Stella McDaniel at 940-464-7438 or visit

LYNN SHEFFIELD SIMMONS is founder and past president of North Texas Book Festival Inc. She is the author of 10 children’s books and two history books on Argyle. Her website is, and she can be reached at