UCSF opens evening orthodontic clinic

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry has opened an evening orthodontic care for low-income patients.

Held once a month, the UCSF Orthodontic Night Clinic charges patients about one-tenth of the typical cost, according to a story by Synapse, the UCSF student newspaper.

Instead of using braces, the clinic uses all-removable devices, mainly retainers, that exert force to move the teeth. It is a simple and efficient way to correct many orthodontic conditions, and it doesn't require an orthodontist for emergency adjustments, according to the article.

The clinic recruits patients through the San Francisco Public Health Group and during screening days in the city. Some patients cannot afford to be treated at the UCSF daytime orthodontic clinic; others have teeth that are functional but cause embarrassment cosmetically.

Treatment usually requires one to four different removable appliances per patient and takes at most a year and a half to complete, while other patients can be treated in just a few months.

The San Francisco clinic will teach dental students the basics of case selection and appliance design, so that they can help provide care with more experienced orthodontic residents, according to the story.

The clinic is similar to a program in Oakland, CA, where UCSF orthodontic residents do regular rotations.

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