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UofL/UK collaboration to bring better dental care to the state's children

by Julie Huflin last modified Jan 11, 2010 01:40 PM

UofL/UK collaboration to bring better dental care to the state’s children

UofL dental student treats a child during Smile Kentucky

Federal and state grants announced today by Governor Beshear’s office will lead to better dental care for the children of Kentucky. Part of the funding will go to University of Louisville and University of Kentucky to develop a curriculum that teaches practicing general dentists competencies in treating young children.

Curriculum components will involve seminars, web-based modules and clinical observation.

“This is a great opportunity for both of the state’s major dental schools to collaborate in an effort to bring better oral health care to Kentucky’s children,” said UofL School of Dentistry Dean John Sauk.

Initial estimates from the state give both UofL and UK $180,000 each over a three-year time frame to develop and implement a curriculum.

Cavities are the most common infections in children today. There are not enough pediatric dentists in Kentucky to meet the dental needs of children.

“Treating children is very different than treating adults,” said UofL School of Dentistry Postdoctoral Pediatric Dentistry Director Ann Greenwell. “Part of the training involves changing the behavior of parents and guardians to feed their child a proper diet, to teach their child proper brushing techniques and to seek dental treatment in a timely manner.”

A standardized curriculum for general dentists will help them become more comfortable in treating children as early as 1-year-old, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommended age for a child to make their first visit to a dentist.

“UofL is committed to improve oral health for children, which is seen in the School of Dentistry’s community programs like Smile Kentucky and Remote Area Medical in Pikeville. This funding helps us build on that mission,” said UofL President James Ramsey.

There will be up to 24 state-wide opportunities for general dentists to learn the new skills. One-third of the seminars will be held in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) counties. The other two-thirds will take place in the remainder of the state.

Learn more about the grant specifics...

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