The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry opened its renovated, state-of-the-art endodontic clinic Friday, Oct. 11 — a facility that will enable faculty and students to treat patients with diseased, cracked or injured teeth by providing root canals and other special therapies.
The DENTSPLY Tulsa Endodontic Clinic at UAB was made possible by an initial $400,000 gift from DENTSPLY Tulsa Dental Specialties, in addition to more than $600,000 raised by School of Dentistry alumni. The DENTSPLY gift is the largest for a clinic in the School of Dentistry’s history.
“DENTSPLY’s gift gave us the momentum toward a new clinic, and through the kindness, generosity and vision of all of our alumni, we were able to raise the rest of the money needed to give us a modern clinic equipped with all of the latest technology,” said Paul Eleazer, DDS, chair of the Department of Endodontics. “The result is a clinic that enables us to give our dental students a more practice-like setting for their endodontic clinical experiences in their third and fourth years. For our patients, it will help us to better diagnose fractured teeth and plan our surgical endodontic treatments. We have the most up-to-date sterilization instrument delivery and other treatment devices to make it a pleasant patient experience.”
Joel Hearn, DMD, a Florence endodontist and UAB School of Dentistry graduate, led the school’s campaign efforts. Hearn says the school’s alumni embraced the project, in part because of the internationally known endodontic team Eleazer put in place and the leadership provided by School of Dentistry Dean Michael Reddy, DMD, D.M.Sc.
“We now have a beautiful facility that is commensurate with the quality of our academic programs and the good people who administer them,” Hearn said. “Paul came to UAB 12 years ago as an internationally known clinician, teacher, research scientist and administrator. And Dean Reddy’s support on this project has been unfailing, consistent and excellent. The forward and upward trajectory on which he has placed this school has created very fertile ground for our fundraising and will continue to do so.”
New additions for the clinic include surgical intervention with IV sedation, an X-ray machine in each treatment area and a cone beam CT machine, which enables dentists to take fine-resolution, 3-D photos of up to five teeth with an extremely limited X-ray exposure.
“It’s a remarkable piece of equipment,” Eleazer said. “It will help us better follow the healing of teeth that might have been subjected to trauma, or even knocked out, to make sure the body is not rejecting that tooth.”
“We pride ourselves on innovation,” Reddy said. “It’s one of our key values. The clinic has every high-tech, high-touch offering that anyone could expect to find worldwide right now.”
Eight residents will train with UAB faculty for a total of 24 months in the clinic. In addition, 60 junior and 60 senior dental students will receive basic education and endodontic training. That follows an exhaustive course in endodontics in a nonpatient laboratory setting.
“This clinic will produce an environment that will greatly enhance our academic mission and will be very beneficial to the education experiences for our residents and students,” Hearn said. “They are truly the big beneficiaries of this clinic, and that’s really why we did it — for them. We’re proud of them and know they will make very good use of their opportunities here.”
The endodontic clinic is located on the fifth floor of the School of Dentistry, 1919 7th Avenue South, and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is available in UAB Parking Deck 3, located on University Boulevard between 19th Street South and 20th Street South.
For more information, or to make an appointment, visit www.uab.edu/dentistry/home/patients.