Special to South Florida Times
Miami Dade College and Nova Southeastern University have formed a partnership to provide residents with low-cost dental services performed by dental students from both academic institutions once a week for the remainder of the year.
The Community Collaborative Partnership between MDC’s Dental Hygiene Program and NSU’s School of Dental Medicine 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 about 24 people will be treated 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 continuity of care.
The services will be offered at MDC’s Medical Center Campus in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays. 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 from $60 to $85.
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.
Although the services are available to the general public, individuals must first become registered patients with the clinic before they may be served, Kass said.
The program was developed over several months before being launched in September at the Medical Center Campus. Kass said a growing need expressed by patients visiting the campus clinic, as well as families throughout the community desperately needing proper dental care but not having insurance, 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,” she said.
MDC administrators contacted NSU about starting a clinical rotation program in which they would share services and patients.
To get the program off the ground, MDC received financial and in-kind support from private organizations such as the 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 valued at more than $16,000.
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.