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Dugoni School Delivers Free Dentures to Thirty Patients in Need

Students with a Denture Block patient during denture delivery on Nov. 30.

December  10, 2012

In what has become an annual event, the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry's second year DDS and IDS students combined to provide complete denture prosthodontic services for a group of underserved individuals. On Friday, Nov. 30 the Fall 2012 Denture Block culminated with the delivery of a new set of dentures to 30 pre-identified individuals at no cost to the patient.

Launched in 2010 as a collaboration between the Dugoni School and San Francisco's Project Homeless Connect, Denture Block initially aimed to counter the lost treatment opportunities for dental students and dependent patients resulting from elimination of many adult DentiCal benefits. Since then the program has expanded its reach to include an underserved population of patients who are missing their natural dentition and cannot afford dentures. Patients are now referred to the program from numerous Bay Area social service agencies, religious groups and by word of mouth.

Patients participating in the Denture Block experience receive an oral clinical screening examination, panoramic radiograph and attend an orientation group session to prepare them for active participation in the program. The complete Denture Block experience includes five consecutive Friday morning and afternoon appointments involving groups of five students and one adjunct volunteer faculty mentor for each appointment. Program faculty include Bay Area prosthodontists and department staff from preclinical courses.

Drs. Peter Hansen and Gene LaBarre, associate professors in the Department of Integrated Reconstructive Dental Sciences, spearheaded the project which this time involved 30 patients and 160 dental students. Invaluable assistance was provided by Doris Bailey and the clinical administrative staff together with Olga Matveyeva in the dental laboratory.

Dr. Hansen with denture block patient and donors.

Dr. Hansen with a Denture Block patient and donors Carole Middleton and Linda Leao (left to right).

The Denture Block is funded in part through the generosity of private donors David and Jane Jackson, the Middleton Foundation and Richard and Linda Leao; corporate support from Salesforce.com and the Myerson Corporation; and interest from an endowment from Henry Sutro. The Dugoni School contributes support staff, supplies and other clinic resources.

"The Denture Block experience is replete with unanticipated consequences for involved students and patients," said Hansen. "These emotional responses result from the satisfaction the students receive from-for the first time -providing treatment which so dramatically affects a person's quality of live and sense of self-worth. Patients are very expressive of their gratitude for not only the denture service, but for the care, concern and expertise they receive."

Future Denture Block programs remain contingent on funding. The Dugoni School hopes to continue the program due to overwhelming positive feedback from all involved.

Category Type: Community Outreach, Special Events

Contact:  Office of Public Relations, 415.929.6434, pr@pacific.edu