May 302014
 
smile7740

An ECU dental student provides care during Give Kids a Smile Day held earlier this year in Greenville. The annual event is sponsored by the East Central Dental Society and geared to improving children’s oral and overall health.

East Carolina University is helping foster healthier smiles from the mountains to the coast.

On May 16, ECU announced plans to build a dental clinic on U.S. 17 in Bolivia adjacent to Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in southeastern North Carolina. And the university’s School of Dental Medicine is scheduled to officially open its fourth community service learning center with a ribbon cutting in Sylva in southwestern North Carolina on June 27.

The Brunswick County center will be the eighth opened by the ECU School of Dental Medicine in underserved areas across the state. Centers are already serving patients in Ahoskie, Elizabeth City, Lillington and Sylva and others are under construction in Spruce Pine, Davidson County and Robeson County.

Led by ECU dental faculty members, fourth-year dental students will receive clinical training at the centers while general dentistry residents also hone their skills at the facilities. The general dentistry centers feature treatment rooms, X-ray equipment, educational space and more.  

The school recently was awarded a $451,955 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Division to fund audio-visual technology at the learning centers and to support infrastructure at Ledyard E. Ross Hall, the site of the school on ECU’s health sciences campus.

Students and residents at the centers stay connected to the teaching program at ECU by using a video teleconferencing system to attend lectures, seminars and consultations with specialists. Teleconferencing also allows for remote patient consultation and diagnosis and continuing education for dental faculty and area dentists.

ECU admitted its first class of 52 dental students in 2011. All students are North Carolina residents. The first class will begin seeing patients in the community service learning centers this fall.

Any member of the community – including Medicaid patients – can receive dental care at the centers.

For people who live in and near Greenville, a clinic is open at Ross Hall. Call 252-737-7834 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to learn more or to make an appointment. Or visit http://www.ecu.edu/dental.

 

 

 

 

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Sep 272013
 
Dr. Joseph V. Califano

Dr. Joseph Califano, professor and division director of periodontology in the Department of Surgical Sciences at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, has been elected to serve as one of nine directors of the American Board of Periodontology (ABP).

The ABP is one of nine specialty boards recognized by the American Dental Association. The board serves to advance the art and science of periodontics and elevate the quality of periodontal care through the examination, certification, and recertification of periodontists.

 The ABP develops and oversees the administration of the written and oral exams required to become a board certified periodontist or diplomate of the ABP. Califano was a board examiner for seven years prior to a national run this year for a directorship.

Califano will be installed as one of the ABP’s nine directors at the American Academy of Periodontology Annual Meeting this month. He will serve a six-year term.

 “Dr. Califano was elected a director by the membership of the American Academy of Periodontology, which says a great deal about his reputation in the profession. Directors are to represent the best of the best in periodontics. Our students are the recipients of his expertise, and we are fortunate to have him on our faculty,” said Dr. Grishondra Branch-Mays, chair, School of Dental Medicine Department of Surgical Sciences.

 A native of Bayshore, NY, Califano received a certificate in periodontology, a PhD in microbiology and immunology, and a D.D.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

 Prior to ECU, Califano was the director of post-graduate periodontics at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry in Chicago. 

 Califano’s specific areas of research include pathogenesis and immunopathology of periodontitis, aggressive periodontitis, microbial genetics of periodontitis associated bacteria, and computer guided implant dentistry.

Along with his membership in American Board of Periodontology (ABP), Dr. Califano is also a member of the American Dental Education Association and the American Dental Association.

Feb 122013
 

Kids of all ages agree: candy is the best part about Valentine’s Day.

Believe it or not, even dentists eat candy and other sweet treats on occasion. In fact, we’d argue that the ability to enjoy candy hearts each February is one of the sweetest incentives to maintaining good oral health. Go ahead – tell your kids we said so!

While you’re at it, you might check out the fun, free resources available to you all month long, through the American Dental Association’s National Children’s Dental Health Month. Every February, ADA sponsors the month to raise national awareness around oral health best practices for youth – a message that ECU School of Dental Medicine faculty and students would like to deliver to North Carolina’s many underserved dental patients. So while National Children’s Dental Health Month gives us yet another reason to love February, you might say it’s an occasion we at ECU commemorate year-round.

We want to inform kids (and grown-ups!) about dental care best practices that allow them to both continue eating the foods they love, and safeguard against a variety of health problems. And ever since we opened our doors in the fall of 2011, improving access to patient care has been our goal.

The path to better oral health in North Carolina starts with our kids. When we teach our children to care for their teeth at an early age, they’ll reap the benefits for a lifetime. Today, that cavity-free kid who remembers to brush twice a day can still enjoy a few candy hearts.  And down the road, the grown-up version of the same child will remember that flossing is part of the overall regimen in preventing heart disease.

Read more about how the School of Dental Medicine’s service-based curriculum delivers dental care to North Carolina kids and grown-ups who need it most: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/dentistry/About-Us.cfm.

Dec 052012
 

Officials from East Carolina University, Jackson County, Western Carolina University, Southwestern Community College, and state legislators gathered Dec. 3 on a scenic mountainside in Sylva to break ground for an ECU School of Dental Medicine Community Service Learning Center.

The center will be built in the Jackson County services complex near the senior center, Department of Social Services and rescue squad. Officials expect the building to be completed next summer.

“ECU is thrilled to partner in the health care mission of Jackson County and the region,” said Dr. Phyllis Horns, ECU vice chancellor for health sciences. “We are proud to lead initiatives for improved dental and other health services for residents of this region and across the state.”

The dental center is the third of 10 centers ECU is planning to care for rural, underserved populations across the state. The first center opened in Ahoskie in June, and the second will open in Elizabeth City in January. Each center contains 16 dental chairs and state-of-the-art general dentistry facilities.

ECU School of Dental Medicine faculty members, post-doctoral residents and dental students will provide patient care, giving the residents and students experience practicing in a community setting. The center also will employ local staff members. Medicaid and other forms of insurance will be accepted.

Although blessed with a picturesque place to live, many residents of Jackson and surrounding counties do not have adequate dental resources.

Paula Carden, director of the Jackson County Health Department, has been a supporter of the center since the idea was proposed years ago. “The dental needs of the people of this region are not being met,” said Carden, “Dental health is essential for overall health, and many are being left out. I’ll be happy when we can refer patients to the center.”

Peggy Novotny, director of external affairs

School of Dental Medicine  

 

Nov 152012
 

Thanksgiving might not seem like the day for starting good eating habits. But there are a few things you can do on Thanksgiving that can be good for oral health year-round.

You may not realize, but Thanksgiving is also a feast for the millions of microbes in your mouth.  The bacteria in saliva love the same starchy and sugary Thanksgiving foods you do. When bacteria break down sugars, they produce acids. And that’s bad news for tooth enamel.

Here a few things to think about at Thanksgiving that can make a big impact on oral health:

•             Cut out the sugary drinks – Carbonated soft drinks contain lots sugar and acids that erode tooth enamel. It’s blasphemous in the South, but your waistline and teeth will thank you if you start drinking unsweet tea or use alternative sweeteners. You can make a special low sugar holiday drink using diet ginger ale or clear diet soda. Fill an ice cube tray with reduced sugar cranberry juice. Pour the ginger ale or diet soda over the cranberry cubes. As the cubes dissolve, your holiday drink becomes infused with flavor. You can even add a dash of orange juice for flavor and color.

•             Serve plenty of fiber-rich vegetables. As if fiber isn’t awesome already, Thanksgiving foods with high fiber like sweet potatoes, pumpkin and broccoli help clean your mouth because fiber stimulates saliva production. Saliva helps flush out food particles and acid attacking your teeth.

•             Incorporate crunchy vegetables – Another good reason for crudité platters, crunchy vegetables and fruits like celery and apples have high water content, which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain and stimulate saliva production. Crunchy vegetables are also low-calorie. Crunchy fruits and vegetables also help by mechanically removing plaque from teeth.

•             Offer hot green or black tea – It’s warm, it’s comforting and it contains antioxidants called polyphenols. Studies have shown polyphenols help suppress bacteria that can produce harmful acid. This could be an alternative to an after-dinner cup of coffee.

•             Don’t forget the water – Tap water contains fluoride, rinses your mouth and is calorie-free.

And if you have a long drive home after the holiday meal and don’t have a toothbrush, chew a piece of sugar-free gum. It will increase saliva flow and reduce the acid level in your mouth.

Nancy Jacobson, DMD, Clinical Associate Professor

Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program

East Carolina University

School Of Dental Medicine