How VCU dentists plan to help children in need without a trip to a dental office

Posted at 1:12 PM, Aug 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-25 16:28:02-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The VCU School of Dentistry plans to spend a recently awarded $2.4 million federal grant to help more Virginia children whose families do not have the means to see a dentist. The dentistry school will spend the money to buy teledentistry equipment, expand pediatric dental residency program at two clinical care sites and develop a new interprofessional curriculum.

"The hope is that we will be able to reach the approximately 50 percent of low-income children in Virginia who are not yet seeing a dentist," Tegwyn H. Brickhouse, D.D.S., Ph.D., department chair, research director and associate professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, VCU School of Dentistry, said. "The grant will help initiate a curriculum that integrates interprofessional education and collaborative care into the pediatric dentistry residency training program, with an emphasis on treating low-income populations and children with complex health care needs."

The university further explained its plans in a press release:

Through the new interprofessional curriculum, pediatric dentistry residents will have the opportunity to participate in the VCU Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care’s educational programs while providing dental care for children at various clinical sites.

Students will provide care at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and the Piedmont Regional Dental Center, which is a safety net dental practice in Orange, Virginia. The grant also covers the cost of dental technology equipment such as a digital X-ray and an intra-oral video camera.

The new technology will enable pediatric dentistry residents to provide consultation services for children at rural sites without necessitating a trip to a dental office.

The VCU Dental Care pediatric dental practice provides year-round specialty dental care for children from birth to age 18.