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New urgent care clinic at VCU School of Dentistry fulfills need for easy access to dental services

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At the ribbon cutting for VCU Dental Care’s new urgent care clinic, dental school Dean David Sarrett, D.M.D., raved about the opportunities the clinic will afford to patients and students.

“This clinic will provide a great learning opportunity for our students, residents and faculty,” Sarrett said. “It will promote the practice, bring new patients into the dental care program and help us move forward in our educational and clinical missions.”

This clinic will provide a great learning opportunity for our students, residents and faculty.

The urgent care clinic opened May 22 at the School of Dentistry’s W. Baxter Perkinson Jr. Building at 1101 E. Leigh St. It will simulate the environment of a private practice dental office, offering a full range of services to patients, and will allow dental students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to a practical setting.  

“The idea for the clinic came from a need of VCU Dental Care patients who want to retain their teeth and are having a dental emergency,” said Clara Spatafore, D.D.S., chair of the school’s Department of Endodontics and urgent care clinic director.

Before the clinic’s opening, VCU Dental Care patients had to go through an intake process that sometimes took weeks. VCU School of Dentistry research has shown that a service gap exists at VCU Dental Care, which could be closed by the opening of the urgent care clinic. Additionally, the clinic will provide a venue for students to fulfill Commission on Dental Accreditation requirements for emergent care.

Treatment at the clinic will include exams, diagnoses and referrals. Patients who simply want teeth extracted will be referred to VCU Dental Care’s oral and facial surgery emergency clinic. Third and fourth-year dental students will practice at the clinic, which will be open from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. during weekdays, with walk-in availability.

“The urgent care clinic will function as an access point for patients to call, get an appointment quickly, get their problem resolved and maybe continue going to VCU Dental Care for their dental needs,” Sarrett said. “Our job while they’re here is to convince them that they would be better off, long term, to have a regular dental visit.”


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