An Oasis in Syracuse's Dental Desert

For many in poverty,  healthcare can be difficult to attain. It is even more difficult to get proper dental care. At Amaus Dental Clinic, an all volunteer staff is working to provide oral healthcare for those who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it. Their clinic is part of a study that is hoping to bring more attention to the inequality of dental care. As a part of our series On The Front Lines , Katie Zilcosky talked with staff and researchers at Amaus Dental to find out how they're trying to make dental care more accessible for those struggling with poverty. 

New dental program provides free care for homeless, uninsured

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There’s a new free dental clinic in the city of Syracuse, attached to the Amaus Health Services clinic at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse. The idea is to offer basic dental care to the homeless and people who have no dental insurance.

The first patient is a Syracuse man named Barry. He says his mouth is a mess after years of neglect.

The dental office is equipped for simple procedures like extractions and fillings.

"Can you imagine some of those cities in Europe after being bombed by the Allies?" he said. "That’s kind of what my teeth look like -- how the South Bronx looked in the '70s. It’s bad, and it’s my problem. My fault."

Enter Dr. David Dasher, a retired dentist who most recently worked at the Syracuse Community Health Center.

“I’m Dr. Dasher, why don’t you come in and get paperwork filled out and we’ll figure out where you are and where you want to go,” he said.

The clinic is a remade office that is attached to the cathedral, and it fronts on South Warren Street. It’s simple, but well equipped, with a basic blue dental chair, sterilizer, hand held X-ray machine and portable drill, all donated or purchased with the help of a Community Foundation grant.

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Join our family of volunteers at Amaus Dental Services in downtown Syracuse, a ministry of the Cathedral Parish.  We are dedicated to providing free dental care to the underserved in our community.  Our modern facility has recently expanded and we need to increase our staff.

if you cannot volunteer your time, considering making a donation to us. 

Your dollars will go to funding free dental care to area homeless / uninsured / underinsured men and woman

We need dentists, hygienists, assistants and office staff. It would be great if you could volunteer 4-8 hours per month!  Join us for a training session to be held in late January.  Interested in hearing more?   Email Kathleen today at

Amaus meets critical need for the homeless, unemployed and uninsured of Central New York

Amaus Dental Service was founded in August 2014 to offer access to free dental care for the homeless, unemployed and uninsured of Central New York, providing $100,000 worth of dental care in the first 30 months. In February 2017, Amaus opened three new operatory dental suites including modern dental chairs, new equipment, digital –rays and an electronic dental record. This expansion was made possible by support from many sources including The John Ben Snow Foundation who providing funding to equip the dental treatment room. With our expansion and increased number of volunteers, we should be able to at least double the amount of dental care provided to our neighbors in CNY who have no other avenues to access the dental care they need.

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