Serving patients in the communities where they live, work, and go to school is a hallmark of a Penn Dental Medicine education. Our community presence recently expanded to 21 dental chairs functioning at five different Community Dental Care Sites. Dental students provide care one day per week for a calendar year beginning in the latter half of their third year and continuing through their fourth year. Students are supervised by 16 faculty and support personnel who routinely work from the community locations, ensuring continuity of care and creating a true dental home for patients. Collectively, the students and faculty provide more than 30,000 hours of care to residents of West Philadelphia.
Faculty within the new Center for Integrated Oral Health will have the ability to examine the health outcomes of our patients to determine how to enhance their oral – and general wellbeing. Researchers will structure interventions aimed at reducing oral cancer, at remediating health problems associated with diabetes and heart disease. Behavior and lifestyle counseling such as smoking cessation and nutrition counseling are offered. Faculty and students will work to address the issues associated with over-consumption of sugar. The community will also benefit as new modes of service delivery are refined, ranging from teledentistry to an integrated electronic health record.