The Department of Dentistry continues its focused effort to address the integral interrelationship between systemic health and oral health. Its effort to facilitate an interprofessional approach to the overall health of its patient population is ongoing. The Department provided in excess of 98,500 visits in 2017 at six convenient locations across the Bronx. Over 9,800 of those visits occurred as outreach visits at medical practices, including Pediatrics and Family Medicine. This project is directed at reaching pediatric patients during their wellness visits who had not visited the dentist the past year.
The dental faculty and residents continue to participate in a five-year Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant focusing on the key role of good oral health in maintaining their patients’ overall health and wellness. Currently in Year Three, the project is focused on interprofessional training. A unique component of this effort is the incorporation of Nutrition Education into the dental visit. The nutritional education and counseling are in conjunction with the James Beard award-winning chef, Amy Chaplin. This effort has been extended to include an interface including the Garden of Eden program, the ambulatory care network, and the dental department to reinforce concepts of oral health and nutrition. Additionally, dental residents are receiving training in leadership roles in bringing oral health care to underserved populations.
Dr. Paul Gates Chairman, Dentistry, is continually striving to expand services in response to the growing dental needs of the Bronx community, both in terms of access to care and workforce diversity. The Dental Department’s main clinical site, BronxCare at 1775 Grand Concourse, located one block north of the hospital’s Concourse Division, has 39 dental treatment rooms. It includes adult, pediatric, orthodontic, and oral surgery services, with expanded registration and waiting areas. The facility features 14 adult treatment rooms; an Oral and Maxillofacial suite that includes seven fully equipped dental surgery rooms, with an expanded recovery area and dedicated nurses’ station; eight orthodontic treatment areas; and 10 pediatric suites equipped with state-of-the-art chairs that have a child friendly design. Plans to expand this clinical site by six operatories are in place, with completion anticipated in November, 2018.
In addition to the main location, the BronxCare at Third Avenue practice and the practices at the BronxCare Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Center, BronxCare Medical and Dental at Poe, BronxCare Ogden Family Medical and Dental, and BronxCare Special Care Center are providing comprehensive oral health services.
Dentistry has evolved from a semi-annual visit to the dentist for a cleaning and check-up to being recognized as a contributing factor reflecting an individual’s systemic health. With dental related illness among the most common causes of ER visits, the Department of Dentistry’s clinical sites are prepared for urgent and non-urgent care. These sites have the most advanced equipment, including an I-CAT imaging unit that provides high definition 3D diagnostic images for ultimate treatment efficiency. For adult patients, a wide range of services are available at all dental practice locations. Endodontic, periodontic, orthodontic, and restorative procedures, including crowns and bridges, root canals, treatment of gum disease, and dentures, are provided. The Oral and Maxillofacial surgery specialists in the department are widely acknowledged for their expertise in all types of dental surgery, from tooth extractions under IV sedation and emergency treatment of facial injuries to innovative implant procedures. Cosmetic dentistry, including tooth whitening, bonding, and veneers, is brightening patient smiles. Pediatric dentists have successfully established the concept of a “dental home,” beginning at age one, to treat oral health problems in children. Orthodontists are also placing aesthetically pleasing braces to ensure the best tooth alignment. There are many treatment options available for children with complex dental problems, including oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia and conscious sedation office visits.
Securing grant funding continues to be a priority for Dr. Gates. This year, the department is one of ten programs nationally designated for the unique five year HRSA/Dental Loan Redemption Faculty Development Grant for fulltime dental attendings. The Ryan White Dental Reimbursement Grant also continues to provide important assistance in addressing the oral health needs of patients with HIV/AIDS.
BronxCare’s General Practice, Pediatric Dental, and Orthodontic residencies are nationally recognized for their outstanding dedication to serving the underserved population. The Department is also recognized for its expertise in providing training for underrepresented minorities.
"The accomplishments of the Dental Department are a function of the efforts of the incredible residents, the tremendous clinical staff, the outstanding administrative leadership, and the remarkable attending faculty, all combining to provide oral health care as a component of systemic health for our incredible patient population.”