Minn. dental therapist students get new clinic

Metropolitan State University has officially opened its new dental teaching clinic for its Master of Science: Oral Health Care Practitioner program students.

The site will enable students, who will be the first and only advanced dental therapists (ADT) in the U.S., to provide low-cost dental care for underserved community members as the students complete required clinical hours for their degree and licensure.

The clinic has seven working stations and is equipped with digital radiography, electronic patient records, and projection capabilities linking the stations to a seminar room located in the clinic. Two of the stations were designed to accommodate patients with special needs.

Major funding for the clinic has been provided by Dental Dental of Minnesota Trust and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. Additional supporters include 3M, the American Dental Hygienists' Association, Colgate, the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation, the Hardenbergh Foundation, Jean and Bruce Johnson, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the United Way.

Already, through their clinical training at a facility at Normandale Community College, the first class of ADT students in this program have seen more than 1,000 patients. Virtually all of the patients seen are uninsured or unable to afford dental care in a traditional setting.

The new clinic is located adjacent to Community Dental Care, which enables students to work with a large group of community health dentists who support the program and refer patients who need emergency care or other advanced services that the students cannot meet.

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