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School of Dental Medicine

Department of Comprehensive Care

Students entering the Simulation Learning Center
Students head to the Simulation Learning Center

The Department of Comprehensive Care’s mission is to train dental students by increasing their diagnostic skills through mentored learning in small group practices, while closely supervised by caring and dedicated faculty.

To achieve this goal the department has been organized into divisions each providing the building blocks required to transform the student into a true dental professional capable of the delivery of high-quality, ethical and caring dentistry. In addition, we try to foster the civic engagement and leadership skills, that will be the foundation of our students’ careers.

Divisions

Diagnosis & Treatment Planning

Lead Practice Coordinators: David Leader; Edward Fidrocki; Alan Epstein

The Division of Oral Diagnosis and Treatment Planning is based on the Group Practice model. The Comprehensive Care Clinic is divided into six group practices, each shared by three Practice Coordinators, who are responsible for approximately 40 third year and 40 fourth year students. The Practice Coordinators are responsible for developing the overall treatment plan for the patient, monitoring the student’s progress toward graduation, and providing direct patient care as needed. The Practice Coordinator instructs, evaluates and advises predoctoral students regarding comprehensive patient care and is responsible for chairside instruction in diagnosis and treatment planning. The Practice Coordinator leads the practice in achieving optimal efficiency and productivity.

Emergency

Division Head: Patrick McGarry

Third and Fourth year students are assigned to the emergency clinic rotation where they treat patients who have acute pain, swelling, and urgent dental needs.  Tufts University School of Dental Medicine has a walk-in Emergency Dental Clinic that sees patients on a first-come, first-served basis. The Emergency Clinic reserves the right to prioritize the order in which patients are admitted to the clinic in certain situations.

Interprofessional Education

Division Head: Ellen Patterson

Interprofessional Education (IPE) is an important pedagogical approach for preparing health professions students to provide patient care in a collaborative team environment. The premise of IPE is that once health care professionals begin to work together in a collaborative manner, patient care will improve. Future dental practice models will increasingly rely upon dentists to function more integrally as part of a healthcare team, addressing and measuring oral health in the context of overall health and systemic disease management.

At Tufts we are committed to providing future dental practitioners with the knowledge and skills needed to provide person-centered care and to collaborate effectively with other members of the healthcare team. We are partnering with other health professions training programs (including medicine, physician assistant, pharmacy, pediatric medicine, and others) to design and implement educational experiences that foster effective interdisciplinary teamwork, communication, and shared responsibility for the patient’s oral and overall health. By understanding the roles and responsibilities, values, and intersecting scope of practice of other healthcare disciplines, dental students will become better able to comprehensively assess, treat, and refer patients in ways that enhance collaboration and effectively meet the healthcare needs of diverse patient populations.

Medicine

Division Head: Kanchan Ganda

Operative Dentistry

Division Head: Peter Arsenault

Operative Dentistry is one of the branches of dentistry that deals with the art and science of the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and prognosis of diseases or trauma to teeth. Operative Dentistry is indicated primarily for dental caries, malformed, discolored or fractured teeth and replacement or repair of existing restorations. Treatment should restore proper tooth morphology, function, esthetics and harmonious relationship with the surrounding tissues.

The mission of the Division of Operative Dentistry is to support the academic goals of the institution through teaching, patient care and research. Our primary goal is to complement the preclinical operative experience of our students and provide high quality didactic and clinical instruction to undergraduate students in the discipline of contemporary Operative Dentistry.

Oral Health Promotion and Nutrition

Division Head: Carole Palmer

The primary goal of the Division of Oral Health Promotion and Nutrition is to emphasize the critical link between nutrition, oral health, and overall oral health by educating future dental practitioners who will be leaders in oral health promotion and disease prevention for their patients, the community, and the profession. This includes effectively communicating the value of oral self-care, providing appropriate clinical care, and providing guidance in oral self-care (including relevant nutritional considerations) as routine components of clinical patient care. Students also learn to advocate for oral health promotion in a variety of non-clinical settings (e.g. the community, government, etc.)

The Division is also a leader in developing models for implementing meaningful dietary guidance in clinical dental settings and in promoting interdisciplinary training with other health care professionals.The Division also serves as a resource in nutrition and oral health promotion for dental and other health care professionals, sd well as the public.