Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine is addressing the growing challenges in caring for children and for people with special needs with its Pediatric Oral Healthcare Center. The facility celebrated its opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 30 attended by school officials.
“In our Applied Strategic Plan, one of the objects we addressed was the need for bringing a pediatric treatment center back to our school, the medical campus, and the university,” said Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter, DMD, MEd. “After many years of hard work, that day is finally here.”
The center will serve children and patients with special needs by providing compassionate care using an innovative, collaborative approach to oral healthcare in support of a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. Officials say it will be one of the first facilities to employ a transformative, team-based pediatric dental practice.
Teams of healthcare professionals committed to serving children will work together to treat patients, especially those with complex problems. Using their broad expertise, the officials said, the group will create a navigation plan and comprehensive assessment of what the holistic needs of each child are and then execute that plan.
“We believe that in the future, healthcare is going to be delivered in teams,” said Athanasios Zavras, DMD, DMSc, MSc, professor and chair of the department of pediatric dentistry. “There is a large body of evidence that shows that the collaborative approach is more efficient and more effective. It provides continuity of care.”
Technology also will play a key role in treatment. For example, clinicians will use carbon-dioxide lasers to perform soft-tissue surgeries for minimal discomfort and faster healing. Also, clinicians will map children’s airways using sound instead of x-rays to eliminate unnecessary radiation exposure. The treatment room will be designed to be more child-friendly as well.
“It was the support from the dental school and the dean that allowed us to build this new facility,” said Zavras. “As you will see, we now have a new treatment center that will be able to provide the highest quality care to children and patients with special needs.”