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Students and Faculty Provide Dentures to Those in Need

Student dentists take photos of one of their patients after treatment.

December  09, 2010

For the second time this year, the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry offered a denture program to make a difference in the health of underserved local residents. The Denture Block brings patients in need of dentures to the school for treatment by students and faculty. At the end of the program the patients each receive a set of dentures — at no cost to them.

When launched in early 2010, the Denture Block was a collaborative effort between the Dugoni School of Dentistry and San Francisco's Project Homeless Connect (PHC). This time, the Denture Block has expanded to include not only homeless patients but other patients who need, but cannot afford, dentures. Thirteen patients participated in the second Denture Block.

Dr. Peter Hansen, chair of the Removable Prosthodontics Department, spearheaded the project and was joined by 12 of his faculty colleagues to make the program a reality. The faculty members demonstrated treatment procedures live and on video, and the treatments were then repeated by the student team members on patients. During the course of 25 patient treatment experiences, 140 dental students were involved in providing dentures to patients.

"I'm very happy that we were able to offer another Denture Block this year," said Hansen. "Too often we see patients who desperately need dentures, but are unable to afford them. This program allows us to improve the quality of life for selected patients by providing the treatment they so desperately need."

Continuation of the Denture Block into 2011 remains contingent on funding. The school hopes to be able to continue the program — it has proven to be a win-win for the community as it answers the high demand for dentures and maximizes the talent of dental school faculty and students.

"The enthusiasm of our faculty, staff and students for the Denture Block is remarkable," commented Hansen. "I'm confident that the dedication and hard work we've shown to these patients has had a positive impact on their overall health and happiness."

Category Type: Community Outreach

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