Miami, Nov. 3, 2010 – Miami Dade College (MDC) and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) are now partners in an ongoing project aimed at providing local residents low-cost dental services performed by dental students from both academic institutions once a week for the remainder of the year. The new Community Collaborative Partnership between NSU’s School of Dental Medicine and MDC’s Dental Hygiene Program officially began at the start of this fall semester.
Upper level dental students will directly treat patients at MDC’s Dental Hygiene Clinic on a one-month rotation basis, one day a week until the end of the academic year. Six students from NSU are assigned each week and approximately 24 patients will be served each day. MDC dental hygiene students will provide services such as cleanings, sealants, and X-Rays. The dental students from NSU will perform restorative care procedures such as fillings and simple tooth extractions. Program coordinators said the goal is to have the same group of students treating patients to ensure there is a continuity of care.
The services will always be offered at MDC’s Medical Center Campus on Mondays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Appointments are required and walk-ins will not be allowed. The dental services are made available at a reduced cost that is comparable to private practice fee schedules. Tooth fillings range from $48 to $100; root canals are $100 to 200; and extractions cost from $60 to $85. To be totally accommodating to all individuals, health insurance is not necessary and services can be paid for with cash, debit or credit cards.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this desperately needed restorative dental treatment to our patients,” said Dr. Susan Kass, MDC’s dental hygiene program coordinator. She added that although the services are available to the general public, individuals must first become registered patients with the clinic before they can be served. “These services are offered to everyone. This includes adults of all ages, as well as MDC faculty, staff and students.”
The program had been in development for several months before it launched this past September at the Medical Center Campus. According to Kass, there was a growing need expressed by visiting patients to the campus clinic, as well as the uninsured families throughout the community desperately needing proper dental care, that had to be addressed. “We learned there was a great need for basic dental services by our own patients, many of whom are students and non-students from neighboring communities.”
Soon after, MDC administrators reached out to NSU to pique interest in a clinical rotation program where the institutions would share both services and patients. To get the program off the ground, MDC received both financial and in-kind support from private organizations, such as Health Foundation of South Florida and dental instrument company Hu-Friedy. Health Foundation contributed nearly $30,000 toward start-up costs and Hu-Friedy provided instruments worth in excess of $16,000.
“We are thankful for the support of these organizations, MDC and NSU administrators, and their dedication to this project and the dental hygiene program,” added Kass. “We will now be a more full-service preventive care facility for our community.”
To make an appointment at the MDC Dental Hygiene Clinic, call 305-237-4142. During the first visit, patients will be screened to determine their dental needs and will be recommended for the appropriate services.