The Venice Family Clinic celebrated the opening of its new dental clinic Aug. 2 at the Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center in Santa Monica.

Former Rep. Jane Harman, currently the president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was invited to attend the event, as well as state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) and Venice Family Clinic Dental Director Dr. Nicole Thompson-Marvel.

The Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the country, has built an 1,800-square foot dental clinic at 2509 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. The new facility features six operatories, an X-ray room, and a laboratory with room for a second staff dentist and dental volunteers.

Venice Family Clinic started its dental program in late 2007. At first, the staff dentist worked out of spare chairs at local dental offices and later, dental services were provided from mobile dental chairs at two of the clinic’s locations.

The new dental office addition doubles the Venice Family Clinic’s capacity to provide dental care, which one-fifth of Los Angeles resident cannot afford, a clinic spokesperson said.

The Santa Monica dental clinic is projected to serve 1,500 patients through about 5,600 dental visits annually. In addition, the location within Venice Family Clinic’s Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center enables patients to receive more health services in a single location, the spokesperson said.