Affordable, and sometimes free, dental treatment now is available from students at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Hunt School of Dental Medicine, officials said in a news release.
The treatment options include new or replacement dentures. People who take part will receive care from faculty-supervised students at the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic, the clinical arm of the school, the news release said.
Potential patients get a free dental screening and X-rays on their first visit to determine if they’re a good candidate to receive new or replacement dentures, the news release said.
Dental care from student and faculty providers at the oral health clinic is provided at an affordable cost, and residents of the 79905 and 79901 ZIP codes also may qualify for financial assistance from a grant provided by the Marathon Petroleum Corp.
“The clinic is equipped with the latest technology allowing our students to provide efficient care at a reduced cost,” Dr. Fady F. Faddoul, professor and associate dean of clinical affairs, said in the news release. “Typically, dentures require multiple appointments over a span of many weeks to fit and produce. At our clinic, the number of visits is almost cut in half compared to the traditional methods of denture fabrication thanks to digital technology. Since the dentures can be manufactured on site, this cuts down the cost and time spent in our clinic.”
The technology also lets the oral health clinic produce replacements quickly if the dentures become damaged or lost.
The news release said that residents throughout West Texas historically have had little to no access to affordable dental care, leading to poor dental health and conditions that can quickly become serious.
Only 50% of residents in El Paso visited a dentist in 2017 and 14% of seniors older than 65 in El Paso County have total tooth loss, the news release said.
Hunt School of Dental Medicine students said they are excited to train in the community.
“I love interacting with patients,” second-year dental student Sydnye Fields said in the release. “To restore a smile to a patient with a new set of dentures will be a rewarding step in my journey to become a dentist.”
Faddoul said he hopes the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic provides new smiles in El Paso and will 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 book a screening appointment for dentures.
The Hunt School of Dental Medicine opened in 2021 and is the only dental school on the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the first in Texas to open in more than 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 laboratory, the news release said.
A first for any dental school in the nation, students begin clinical training and patient interaction during their first semester and take required Spanish language courses to bridge language barriers, the news release stated.