The Center for Special Dentistry in NYC has created a successful unique model for healthcare delivery and education in mid-town Manhattan that is affiliated with both Columbia and NYU dental schools. It provides dental care for those who cannot afford it and trains students for the real world. The program has existed for over ten years and is financially viable. This model could be rolled out to a much larger population for both medicine and dentistry.
The Dental Faculty Practice at The Center for Special Dentistry serves two purposes: 1) To provide dental care for those who cannot afford it, and, 2) To train dental students in a real-world, premium private practice setting.
Top students from Columbia University and NYU dental schools are selected to treat patients of lesser economic means in our mid-town dental practice. Our practice is composed of twelve dentists and specialists who focus on super premium cosmetic reconstruction. It is the only private dental practice in New York State wherein dental students may treat patients for reduced fees with the patient’s informed consent. This dental work is supervised by our Faculty Dentists. Patients do have the option of being treated solely by Faculty Dentists at our regular premium fees. Sometimes more complex cases may be completed by both Faculty and students.
Patients treated by students may typically expect fee reductions starting at 40% off premium fees depending upon the procedure. The procedures available to be performed by students are limited at the discretion of the Faculty Dentists.
This program exists as a public service. It is not associated with any managed care program. This program offers the uninsured an attractive alternative in a quasi-academic environment. A financial dental plan, with prearranged monthly payments, may be available for pre-qualified patients. The number of patients and the type of cases accepted into this program are limited. Patients who do not qualify may be referred to a local New York dental school for treatment.
Our program could serve as a model to address fundamental flaws in American health care education and delivery. It is believed that health care education should be offered to interested students in high school and college and that these students should be on a health professions fast track towards their graduate degree. These students should be offered jobs during high school, college and medical/dental school in which they will be given increasing responsibilities in health care delivery to alleviate labor shortages and to help underserved populations. These students will impress upon their family, friends and neighbors the benefits of preventive health care. This work-study approach would also greatly reduce the debt many students face upon graduation from medical and dental school.
Interested readers may visit NYCdentist.com/faculty for more information.