The Department of Dentistry continues its focused effort to address the integral interrelationship between systemic health and oral health. Dr. Ingrid A. Dowrich, the new Chairman of Dentistry, has continued to promote the vision of the previous leadership and is striving to expand services in response to the growing dental needs of the Bronx community, with an emphasis on access to care and workforce diversity. The Department’s efforts to facilitate an interprofessional approach to the overall health of its patient population are ongoing. In 2018, more than 95,000 visits were provided at six convenient locations across the Bronx.
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 Four, the project is being directed to interprofessional training. A unique component of this effort is the incorporation of Nutrition Education into the dental visit. Nutritional education and counselling are provided as part of an important initiative in conjunction with the James Beard award-winning chef, Amy Chaplin. This initiative includes an interface with the Garden of Eden community organization, the BronxCare Outpatient Network, and the dental department to reinforce concepts of oral health and nutrition.
The Dental Department’s main clinical site, BronxCare at 1775 Grand Concourse, located one block north of the hospital’s Concourse Division, was expanded by six chairs and currently has a total of 45 dental treatment rooms. It includes adult, pediatric, orthodontic, and oral surgery services, with modern registration and waiting areas. The facility features 17 adult treatment rooms; an Oral and Maxillofacial suite that includes seven fully equipped surgery rooms, with an expanded recovery area and dedicated nurses’ station; 11 orthodontic treatment areas; and 10 pediatric suites equipped with state-of-the-art chairs that have a child friendly design.
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 provided more than 9,800 visits. These visits are part of a continuing effort to reach patients who have not visited the dentist during the previous year.
Dentistry has evolved from patients coming in on a semi-annual basis for a cleaning and check-up to being recognized as a health care delivery system which has a pivotal role in maintenance of overall general health. With dental-related illnesses, such as infections and pain, among the most common causes of ER visits, the Department of Dentistry’s clinical sites are prepared for all aspects of 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.
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 are all utilized to brighten 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. This year, the department is one of ten programs nationally designated for the unique five-year HRSA/Dental Loan Redemption Faculty Development Grant for full-time 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 and underrepresented minorities. Dental residents are also receiving training taking on leadership roles in bringing oral health care to these populations.
"Our Dental Department has an outstanding record of accomplishments, and this is due, first and foremost, to our loyal patient population who continuously entrust us with their care. Additionally, our clinical and non-clinical staff—faculty, residents, administrative leadership, and support staff—strive daily to provide the highest level of care to our patients in a welcoming environment.”