Kornberg school to open community dental clinic

This summer, the dentistry school will open a clinic using a government grant.

This summer, the dentistry school will open a clinic using a government grant.

On July 1, 2011, the Kornberg School of Dentistry will open a new dental clinic on the main level of the school. The clinic will be open to North Philadelphia residents and Temple students, and treatment will not require insurance.

“We have a significant need for comprehensive dental care in North Philadelphia. This clinic will provide a community health center in an urban setting, as well as [help to] educate dentists and dental students,” said Dr. Amid Ismail, the dean of dentistry.

The school of dentistry recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for $2.17 million dollars in a span of five years and $289,000 to update equipment needed to furnish the clinic. Ismail explained one chair can cost as much as $30,000.

The clinic will be equipped with 10 dental chairs, two dentists and two advanced dental residents to start.

The funding for the clinic falls under President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, which creates research, business and job opportunities for U.S. citizens.

Lauren Wagner, a dental assistant at Kenneth Hollingsworth Family Dentistry and a sophomore business major, said the clinic will be helpful to community members.

“I think it’s a very good idea to develop a community clinic,” Wagner said. “I see a lot of people coming in, and they can’t get or afford the service they need with their insurance and tend to wait last-minute, when it gets so bad that you usually have to pull their tooth. I hope the community would take advantage of what the clinic is offering.”

Ismail said he suspects the clinic will have flexible operating hours to accommodate community members.

While anyone can request services, patients under age 5 may be better suited to take advantage of the new pediatric clinic, which opened last week.

Along with its attempt to provide the community with affordable dental care, the clinic will also promote a new program for dental residents.

The Master of Public Health program allows dental residents in their first year to dedicate all their time to the clinic. Students in their second year will spend 30 percent of their time in the clinic and 70 percent of their time taking dental and public health classes. Meanwhile, students in their third year will spend 70 percent of their time in the clinic and 30 percent in their classes.

“This program is a great way to combine advanced dental training with public health,” Ismail said.

The new clinic will provide the same care any private dental office would, such as surgical, diagnostic, gum disease, restorative, implant restoration, dentures, crowns and bridges.

“Opening a clinic here for the community sounds great. I’m sure that residents like myself will take full advantage of what the clinic will have to offer,” North Philadelphia resident D. Goins said. “I hope they advertise it to the public so more people can learn of the opportunity.”

When the clinic opens, Ismail said he hopes it can become self-sustaining by providing dental care to students and community members and by providing job opportunities and quality education.

“This clinic can help dentists learn how to run the business aspect of a facility,” Ismail said.

“This clinic is a great idea. The community already comes in a lot to receive quality dental care, and opening a new clinic that takes patients regardless if they’re insured or not sounds like a great plan,” said Dan Schaeffler, a third-year student at the school.

“The clinic will provide dental care for a significant portion of people in North Philadelphia and Temple employees and students,” Ismail said.

“The clinic will provide a walk-in or appointment service run by dentists, not students. We hope we can generate revenues to sustain the education program, pay salaries and pay for supplies to keep the clinic running,” Ismail said. “It will be a huge challenge, and I hope we can succeed.”

Ismail said the school, which now treats between 80,000 and 100,000 patients a year, hopes to use the clinic to grow its number of patients to better service the community.

Alyssa Saylor can be reached at alyssa.saylor@temple.edu.

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