Newswise — NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — North Miami Beach is now home to a new and unique facility that provides specialized dental care for persons with disabilities. Nova Southeastern University’s College of Dental Medicine’s Institute for Special Needs Dentistry relocated there in October to provide comprehensive dental and oral health care for individuals with developmental or acquired disabilities.
Located at 1750 NE 167th Street, North Miami Beach, the Special Needs clinic is now housed in a larger modern space near the existing general dentistry and optometry clinics. The Clinic, which was in Davie, treats patients with chronic complex medical conditions, as well as disabilities resulting from traumatic injuries.
Populations served at the Clinic include persons with developmental disabilities, such as autism or cerebral palsy; acquired and other types of disabilities, such as traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries and stroke; mental illness and behavioral management challenges; complex medical conditions or compromised medical status; significant physical or mobility limitations; and frail elderly. When needed, care may be provided under conscious sedation, and when appropriate, under general anesthesia in the operating rooms at Broward Health Hospital Systems, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and Memorial Regional Hospital by NSU dental faculty and students.
The Special Needs clinic serves a unique role in the health care landscape by focusing exclusively on the care of persons with special health needs. Not only is the Clinic a valuable community-based local resource, but it also serves many individuals and their caregivers, as well as residents of various group homes for those with disabilities, from beyond the local area. People travel to the Clinic from across Florida because the specialized services and care they need is simply not available in their area.
The Clinic also serves as the hub for the training of dental providers that focus on teaching strategies and techniques to relieve anxiety, and assist in behavior management for the purpose of enabling special-needs patients to cooperate in their care. Providers who receive training in the Clinic include post-graduate residents – dentists who have graduate from dental school and are pursuing additional training in the care of persons with special health needs – as well as NSU dental students who rotate through the clinic as a required part of their dental school education. Dentists practicing in community-based settings also seek specialized training in the Clinic to strengthen their skills. Dentists thereby gain hands-on experience providing care while under direct supervision and mentoring by experienced NSU dental faculty who are recognized for their expertise in the field of special needs care.
“The new Clinic is a significant development in that it will allow us to serve a broader population of individuals with special needs in more spacious and modern facilities,” said Diane Ede-Nichols, D.M.D., MHL, M.P.H., chair of Community Dentistry in NSU’s College of Dental Medicine. “Persons who are disabled, medically compromised, homebound or institutionalized are at increased risk for dental disease. Those who have physical, mental, and behavioral challenges typically encounter great difficulties finding providers able to offer the most appropriate care services on a continuing basis.”
“The Clinic’s location allows us to better serve the South Florida region at large”, Ede-Nichols said. “At this Clinic, new generations of dentists are able to provide more care for the most vulnerable populations in community-based settings, thereby achieving our goal of improving oral health, systemic health, and access to care for these communities.”
Steven Ellen, D.D.S., NSU College of Dental Medicine’s assistant professor in Community Dentistry, added: “Historically, people with developmental disabilities are devalued by many health care providers. At NSU, we respect the abilities of our patients. We try to nurture a relationship of caring and trust among patients and providers, and encourage patients’ participation in their care. In addition, by our use of positive rewards, they look forward to spending time with us.”
Last year, NSU’s Institute of Special Needs Dentistry’s faculty, residents, and students cared for more than 1,300 patients with various conditions across the special needs spectrum who visited the clinic more than 7,300 times.
For more information or to make an appointment at the NSU Special Needs Dental Clinic in North Miami Beach, please call 954-262-1795.
About NSU North Miami Beach: The NSU North Miami Beach campus facilities at 1750 NE 167th St. house dental, medical, and optometry clinical services, and conveniently serve the diverse communities in the north Miami-Dade and south Broward counties.
About NSU College of Dental Medicine: Students of the College benefit from our state-of-the-art educational and clinical facilities, which feature the latest in computer and video technology, and from our distinguished professors, recruited from throughout the United States. The College’s facilities, faculty, and dynamic curriculum have attracted worldwide attention. Students and professionals have come from very diverse backgrounds to pursue their courses of study at the College, but outstanding instruction and advanced technology are only means to an end. http://dental.nova.edu/
About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 300 beautiful acres in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University is a dynamic fully accredited institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs of distinction from preschool through the professional and doctoral levels. NSU has more than 28,000 students and is the sixth largest not-for-profit independent institution nationally. The university awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral, and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields, including business, counseling, computer and information sciences, education, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, dentistry, various health professions, law, marine sciences, early childhood, psychology and other social sciences. www.nova.edu.