Questions are what drive scientific discovery. Big questions—the ones that keep us up at night—foster a desire for learning that never stops. They dare us to dream, to think differently. And they are how we transform our patient care. The School of Dentistry holds as a guiding principle a commitment to lifelong discovery through research that innovates the practice and study of dentistry. A core part of that commitment is the Oral Health Clinical Research Center (OHCRC).
One of our core values is “service to all communities.” The educational model of our school has allowed us to fulfill this value and operate our Moos Tower clinics as safety-net clinics. Within our predoctoral clinics, we provide dental care to patients with commercial insurance, public insurance and no insurance at all. For a variety of reasons, the patients treated in our clinics may have few options of places to seek care. By improving their oral health, we also positively impact their overall health.
Alvin Wee, DDS, PhD, MPH, wears plenty of hats in his position at the School of Dentistry. He is the Director of the Division of Prosthodontics, a leader in care for patients with complex oral rehabilitation needs and a researcher focusing on color sciences and early detection of oral cancer. But one of the obligations he treasures most happens outside the walls of Moos Tower: serving in private practice at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.
On a sunny day in mid-June, Amy Ahnefeld brings her two children into the Hibbing Community College Dental Clinic for oral health care. A single mother to Finn and Hannah, she knows what is important to her: community, efficiency and excellence in care. She gets all those things and more at Hibbing—and that is why she has continued to return for nine years.
The School of Dentistry has made a major investment in the future of 3D imaging, thanks to the work of two faculty specialists. Now, they are on a mission to educate more dental professionals in the process.