Expanded dental clinic serves needs of community, students

(Edmonton) The newly expanded Oral Health Services Clinic at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital opened its doors Oct. 18 for a grand opening celebration to thank the partners and donors for their generous contributions.

The University of Alberta’s School of Dentistry led a fundraising campaign to update the existing Glenrose dental clinic with new equipment and to expand its capacity from four dated operatories to eight new operatories.

Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Oral Health Services serves a segment of the population who would otherwise have difficulty accessing treatment. Not only does the expanded clinic provide unique access to dental care for older adults with mobility challenges, but it also gives dentistry and dental hygiene students an increased opportunity for hands-on learning through “student enhanced” clinics aimed at helping them gain the skills and experience to serve vulnerable populations.

People who use the dental services at the Glenrose clinic are often medically compromised and at high risk for dental complications. Working with them allows the students to apply the knowledge they have acquired in many of their courses—and as the population of older adults increases, it is critical for students to receive more exposure to this group of patients before they graduate.

“Our experiences during the rotations at the Glenrose Dental Clinic were nothing short of eye-opening,” said Nadia Kobagi, a 2012 dental hygiene graduate. “These rotations allowed us to interact and work on clients we would not normally have the opportunity to see at the School of Dentistry clinic.”

“It has long been recognized that having opportunity to provide care for people with these challenges goes a long way in ensuring graduate dentists and hygienists will be comfortable welcoming these people into their practices,” says Bill Preshing, clinical professor. “This tremendous new opportunity for students to provide patient care at the Glenrose will have profound benefits.”