The School of Dentistry is a big step closer to a new children’s dental clinic on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank after securing a $3.5 million gift from a local dental insurance provider.
The pediatric dental clinic is anticipated to open by April 2012. The clinic will be named the “University of Minnesota Children’s Dental Clinic, made possible by Delta Dental of Minnesota,” a tribute to its biggest sponsor.
“The floor colors have been chosen, we’ve met with the company that will supply the dental chairs. It’s really moving right along,” said Dr. Judith Buchanan, School of Dentistry interim dean.
The existing East Bank patient clinic at the University’s School of Dentistry generally can’t serve young patients with serious illnesses because it’s far away from the Amplatz Children’s Hospital across the river. The new clinic, which will be located in a pre-existing building next to the children’s hospital, will be able to serve the oral health needs of Amplatz patients with acute health problems like diabetes or cancer, said Claudia Kanter, spokeswoman for the School of Dentistry.
The clinic will have space for fourteen patients at a time. It will be clustered in a building with other “above-the-neck” clinics — opthamology, ear, nose and throat clinics, Buchanan said.
A committee led by local pediatric dentists was charged with raising $4.5 million to build the clinic and support the first few years of operations. With the signing of the Delta Dental agreement last week at a farewell party for Patrick Lloyd, former dean of the dental school, the committee has now raised more than $4 million, Buchanan said.
“The money’s coming in on my watch, but I hate to take credit for what Dr. Lloyd clearly initiated and carried through,” Buchanan said.
According to the news release, there are also benefits for residents studying to become pediatric dentists or doctors, including:
- Opportunities for bedside evaluation of hospital patients
- Access to the hospital’s operating rooms and emergency room
- Clinical rotations on-site