‘Mini-Residencies’ Help Public Health Dentists Broaden Their Skill Sets
Dentists serving low-income and underinsured patients via federally qualified health centers in Western North Carolina were frustrated by the need to refer many of their complex patients to other providers. The referral process and lengthy wait times impeded patients from receiving necessary dental care that impacted their quality of life. Because these dentists do not typically perform complex procedures, such as wisdom tooth extraction and root canals, they did not feel comfortable treating patients who required this level of care. This problem brought about a light bulb moment of “Why don’t we broaden our training so we can effectively provide these procedures?” And thus a partnership between North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative and the Mountain Area Health Education Center was initiated. In March, three public health dentists began “mini-residencies” over four weekends during which they will undergo both didactic and clinical education on more complex procedures. During the weekend of April 15, participants will perform tooth extractions and surgical techniques on the jaws of hogs. Click here to read more.