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UDM Dental Partners with Community Living Services to Provide Dental Care

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June 18, 2015

If you live with a mental illness or developmental disability, many times you have to take medications that can be very hard on your teeth and gums. After years of taking medication, serious dental issues may arise and that’s why Community Living Services has partnered with the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry and Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) to provide some relief.

“Day after day I would hear about people who needed dental care and I felt compelled to do something about it,” said Community Living Services Project Leader Andrea Goodwin. “Also, we know that some dentists feel that they lack training and experience in treating people with special needs.  Through this project, we are providing that training to future dentists, who will use this experience once they’re fully licensed and in practice, and people get much-needed dental treatment.”

The “Co-Teacher” project, as it is called, actually allows University of Detroit Mercy students to work with patients who have disabilities to gain a better understanding of how to treat people who may have significant needs. “There is a significant need for improving training and increasing the number of general dentists that are able and willing to treat patients with special needs especially those with developmental disabilities. Increased experience for dental students treating special needs patients will help to increase confidence and knowledge to care for these patients.” said Dr. Divesh Byrappagari, Assistant Professor & Director of Community Programs, UDM School of Dentistry. 

So far since the program’s inception almost 50 people have received treatment and gotten on a routine dental schedule. “This partnership is a great opportunity for all three organizations to work collaboratively on a pervasive problem that affects thousands of lives every day, said Program Director/Tri-County Health, a division of JVS, Karen Trompeter

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