As part of its efforts to expand access to dental care across the state, the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, with assistance from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, will host its first dental education course in East Tennessee beginning Monday, April 25.
the Extended functions for dental auxiliaries (EFDA) The continuing education course will be held at UT Culinary Institute and Creamery, 2712 Neyland Drive, on the UT Knoxville campus. A “flossing” ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m., April 25, to kick off the class and recognize the new presence of the UTHSC College of Dentistry in Knoxville.
The EFDA course trains certified dental assistants and dental hygienists to perform certain procedures currently performed by licensed dentists, thereby expanding the provision of dental care. These procedures include certain restorative and prosthetic services, including the placement of fillings, temporaries for crowns, and the taking of impressions for various fixed and removable dental prostheses. Since the EFDA program began in 2006 on the Memphis campus, the College of Dentistry has qualified approximately 2,000 dental assistants and dental hygienists to extend the work of dentists.
“EFDA plays an important role in solving the care access crisis we have in Tennessee,” said Jerry McKinney, DDS, FICD, assistant professor and director of extended function programs at UTHSC College of Dentistry. . “If you have an EFDA in your practice who does restorative dentistry, that can increase the number of patients seen in a practice by at least 15% up to 40%. That’s huge.”
“We are very excited about this opportunity,” said James Ragain, DDS, MS, PhD, FICD, FACD, Dean of the UTHSC College of Dentistry. “EFDA-trained dental auxiliaries have been proven to increase the number of patients that dentists can treat. Therefore, this program takes into account our plans to improve access to dental care throughout Tennessee. This collaboration between the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville is a fantastic example of our motto, One UT.
The EFDA program has two components. The restorative class certifies the dental assistant in restorative procedures, including placing composite or amalgam restorations after the dentist has prepared the tooth. The prosthodontics class allows graduates to perform procedures including taking master impressions, creating temporaries, and taking bites for crowns and bridges. All procedures are performed under the supervision of a licensed dentist.
The first course starting April 25 will be the restorative track, lasting two weeks and training 10 to 15 students, Dr McKinney said. He said the college has long been looking for a suitable location to install the portable mannequin heads and power hand tools needed for training, and is grateful to UT Knoxville for the space for the inaugural class and future EFDA classes.
“Almost all UTHSC colleges have some sort of presence on the UTK campus, with the exception of dentistry,” he said. “As far as we know, this is the first time there has been a UTHSC College of Dentistry presence on the UTK campus, which is a big deal for us.”
“We are proud to join our colleagues at UT Health Science Center and support the important work they are doing to provide essential training and support opportunities for people to get the care they need,” said Donde Plowman, PhD, Chancellor of the University. of Tennessee, Knoxville. “We are always looking for new ways to partner with our colleagues at UTHSC to benefit Tennesseans and beyond.”