The Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH), on the campus of A. T. Still University (ATSU), opened in 2003 and was the state’s first dental school. Located in Mesa, the school was founded on a simple mission—educating highly skilled and technologically adept dentists who will also serve as leaders and public health resources to those most in need in their communities. In fulfillment of that mission, in July 2013, ASDOH opened its newest clinic, the Dr. Rick Workman Advanced Care Clinic, which specializes in providing interdisciplinary care to patients with serious health concerns.
Advanced Care Clinic: Community Outreach and Teaching Facility
The Advanced Care Clinic is located inside the Center for Advanced Oral Health building, which also houses the dental school’s existing orthodontics clinic. ATSU’s first general dentistry clinic, which opened in 2005, is nearby in a separate building. The three patient centered clinics serve as hands-on training sites for third- and fourth-year dental students, 12 yearly residents in the School’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program (a site of the Lutheran Medical Center’s AEGD program), and a pediatric dentistry resident who rotates from the Lutheran Medical Center’s pediatric dental residency program. Five full-time faculty dentists oversee students and residents, and numerous adjunct faculty—including endodontists, periodontists, an oral surgeon, and dental anesthesiologists—are in the clinic and available throughout the year teaching their specialty alongside the students and residents.
Henry Schein has a long relationship with A.T. Still University and provided the design, equipment, and installation for all three of the clinics on the campus.
“It has been a pleasure working with the University,” says Randall Kofron, Henry Schein Special Markets Regional Manager. “From the early days of planning and development of the Graduate Clinic to the completion of the most recent Orthodontic and Advanced Care Clinics, it has been so rewarding to be a small part of Dr. Jack Dillenberg’s great vision to provide quality, compassionate dental care to those in need. Everyone associated with ATSU has been absolutely wonderful to work with.”
The Advanced Care Clinic is a concrete example of the University’s mission to serve as a community leader and educator and provide dental care and public health service to its neighbors throughout the state. Under the supervision of faculty, students care for patients with complex dental cases and complex medical conditions such as heart disease, hemophilia, HIV, obesity, emotional or behavioral issues, kidney disease, and cancer. Because of the complications that can accompany these illnesses, many patients have found it difficult to obtain dental care.
The increased capacity to care for the most complex patients in a team approach and to be able teach our students and residents in such a comprehensive environment is awesome,” she says.
“ATSU’s Advanced Care Clinic fills a major gap in Arizona’s oral health care needs,” explains Dr. Maureen Romer, Director of The Center for Advanced Oral Health. “Until now, some residents with complex medical situations and special needs had to go outside the state to get the care they required, while others got no care at all. In opening this facility, A.T. Still University has reaffirmed its commitment to oral health as an integral part of overall health, as well as its determination to provide the highest quality of care to society’s most vulnerable.”
The 10,000-square-foot-plus Advanced Care Clinic was designed both for patient care and as a teaching facility. There are 10 open-bay operatories and five sedation suites. To accommodate special populations, a bariatric suite was designed for patients over 350 pounds. The Clinic’s clean lines, medical-grade flooring, bright wall colors, generous use of windows, and artwork from ATSU faculty members who are also professional photographers make the space a place that is welcoming and comfortable for patients, yet highly functional for students and faculty.
Advanced Care Clinic Invests in Advanced Care Technology
The Clinic’s technology is more advanced than that of most private dental practices; it utilizes a wide range of digital imaging, 3D cone beam, CAD/CAM, laser therapy, caries detection, and more to properly care for the serious and wide-ranging needs of its patients, and also provide the fullest exposure to its students of equipment on the forefront of dentistry. ASDOH invested $1 million in equipment and technology and saw that investment as a key part of it mission to provide the best diagnostic care to patients in need of more specialized treatment.
“The i-CAT FLX Cone Beam 3D unit is state of the art and has increased our diagnostic quality for implant placement as well as assisted in TMD diagnosis,” explains Dr. Romer. “The digital radiography with sensors and handheld NOMAD intraoral X-ray units also make it easy for patients. No more trips to the X-ray room!”
In addition, the Clinic also utilizes an Instrumentarium OP300 digital pan/ceph. It is currently evaluating a Planmeca PlanScan system for in-house digital restorations. Each operatory has a touch-screen monitor to display the digital images for treatment planning with patients. Chairside, students work with KaVo electric handpieces and Star air-driven handpieces and the Spectra caries-detection device. Patients recline in comfort in Pelton & Crane chairs, which offer aesthetics as well as durability, an important factor for a clinic that expects to see 7,500 patients each year. Patient flow and management is managed through Dentrix practice management software.
“We also have a state-of-the-art in-operatory video system that transmits to our classroom for live patient demos,” adds Dr. Romer. “This is great for both teaching and continuing education courses.”
Patient Care Expanded Because of Advanced Equipment and Technology
This major investment in technology has allowed the school to offer many new services to the community, including diagnosis of oral facial pain and TMD; dental sleep medicine; maxillofacial prosthodontics, as part of its affiliation with the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center; sedation dentistry; and oral medicine.
With so many aspects to the new Advanced Care Clinic, Dr. Romer admits that the main benefit is what it offers their patients. “The increased capacity to care for the most complex patients in a team approach and to be able teach our students and residents in such a comprehensive environment is awesome,” she says. In the fall of 2013, ATSU accepted the inaugural class of dental students into its second dental school, Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (MOSDOH) in Kirksville, Missouri, and it is currently constructing a new teaching/patient care clinic. Once again, the University called on Henry Schein’s Special Markets Group to oversee the design, equipment, and technology recommendations and installation.
Based in St. Louis, this new 79,000-square-foot facility will be able to reach a large community of underserved patients. Groundbreaking was in April of this year, and it is expected to open in 2015. Dr. Romer offers advice to those taking on the challenge of building a facility that has the dual goal of providing patient care and excellence in clinical training. “Get as much input from everyone involved as possible in the design as well as in the equipment and products needed,” she stresses. “Have all stakeholders weigh in, including patients and families/caregivers, residents, assistants, faculty, and students. Getting as many perspectives as possible will help to make it perfect!”