School of Dentistry expands to new clinic facillity
10/11/2013 - The Daily Athenaeum. By Summer Ratcliff.
The West Virginia University School of Dentistry is expanding its ability to provide state-of-the-art smiles with the opening of its new state-of-the-art satellite clinic.
The new facility, located in the Suncrest Towne Centre, marks the first major expansion of the School of Dentistry since its opening in 1957.
The approximately $3 million clinic houses 30 graduate residents and 24 full-time dental school faculty members, including 15 specialty providers. This makes the clinic the largest group practice of dental specialists in the state of West Virginia.
Randal Christopher, director of accounting and finance for the WVU Dental School, said there are two groups of dental providers located in the new clinic. One group consists of students working in specialty areas and the other part of the practice is where faculty members see their patients.
“This is simply an expansion of our existing clinics,” Christopher said. “Students, faculty and staff can still be seen at the Health Science Center if they are seeing a dental student, and the HSC will also still run our urgent care program for dental emergencies.
“We are still seeing all of the same patients at the HSC; all we’ve done is transfer our faculty practice and our four graduate training programs to the new site, so patients can now also be seen there.”
In addition updated dental equipment, new teleconferencing capabilities are available to allow faculty and students to collaborate with referring dentists.
By expanding its facilities, the dental school will free up 33 chairs for pre-doctoral dental and dental hygiene students, lowering the student to chair ratio and giving the students more opportunity for hands-on patient care.
“(Previously) every half day, (some) students were either assisting, doing lab work or doing something other than treating a patient,” said David Felton, dean of the WVU School of Dentistry. “By moving here, that lowers (the) chair ratio.”
The 27,000-square-foot facility houses graduate clinics in orthodontics, endodontics, periodontology and prosthodontics.
Bryan Hill, a third year WVU undergraduate dental student, said he and his classmates will have an increased number of opportunities to work in a hands-on environment because of the dental school’s expansion.
“While the majority of our time is still spent at the Health Science Center, the new clinic provides us with more room for when we go over to do rotations,” Hill said. “(At times) we will be on rotations for the different specialties like endodontics and orthodontics at the new location. It will give (us) more experience and exposure in dentistry.”
Hill said he believes the expansion will provide many opportunities for growth, both for individual dental students and for the dental school as a whole.
“It will hopefully provide a very good source of income for the school, which will allow the school to expand,” Hill said. “Ultimately, this will help establish the new dental school building that will be built by 2018.”
The WVU School of Dentistry is currently offering a $150 credit to new patients on their first visit through December 2013.
To schedule an appointment, call 304-293-5831.