Affordable and sometimes free dental care is now available to students at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Hunt School of Dental Medicine, officials said in a news release.
Treatment options include new or replacement dentures. Those who attend will receive student care supervised by faculty at the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic, the school’s clinical arm, according to the news release.
Prospective patients receive a free dental exam and X-rays during their first visit to determine if they are a good candidate to receive new or replacement dentures, according to the press release.
Dental care for students and faculty at the Oral Health Clinic is provided at an affordable cost, and residents of ZIP Codes 79905 and 79901 are also eligible for financial assistance through a grant provided by Marathon Petroleum Corp.
“The clinic is equipped with the latest technology enabling our students to provide effective care at a lower cost,” said Dr. Fady F. Faddoul, professor and associate dean of clinical affairs, in the statement. “Typically, dentures require multiple appointments over a period of weeks to fit and produce. At our clinic, the number of visits is almost halved compared to traditional methods of making prostheses thanks to digital technology. As the prostheses can be made on site, this reduces costs and the time spent in our clinic.
The technology also allows the oral health clinic to produce replacements quickly if dentures are damaged or lost.
The press release says West Texas residents have historically had little or no access to affordable dental care, resulting in poor dental health and conditions that can quickly turn serious.
Only 50% of El Paso residents visited a dentist in 2017, and 14% of people over the age of 65 in El Paso County have total tooth loss, according to the news release.
Students at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine said they were excited to train in the community.
“I love interacting with patients,” Sydnye Fields, a second-year dental student, said in the statement. “Bringing a smile back to a patient with new dentures will be a rewarding step in my journey to becoming a dentist.
Faddoul said he hopes the Texas Tech Dental oral health clinic will bring new smiles to El Paso and have a long-term impact on the health and well-being of the community. Patients can call the Oral Health Clinic at 915-215-6700 to schedule a denture screening appointment.
The Hunt School of Dental Medicine opened in 2021 and is the only dental school on the US-Mexico border, as well as the first in Texas to open in over 50 years. The dental school offers the most innovative curriculum in the country, preparing students for the future of dentistry with high-tech simulation and an advanced fabrication lab, according to the press release.
A first for any dental school in the country, students begin clinical training and patient interaction during their first semester and take the required Spanish classes to overcome language barriers, the press release said.