New Marquette dental clinic to serve north side

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  • The School of Dentistry opened a new clinic on the north side of Milwaukee last week.
  • The Marquette University Community Dental Clinic – North is located at 210 W. Capitol Dr.
  • The clinic will serve adults and adolescents five days a week.
  • Dental students will provide the majority of patient care.

The School of Dentistry opened a new clinic on the north side of Milwaukee last week, with the goal of serving the community and providing real world experience for dental students.

The Marquette University Community Dental Clinic-North, 210 W. Capitol Drive, is located in the lower level of Chase Tower. The clinic is open to the public and will serve adults and adolescents five days a week, according to University News Briefs.

Albert Abena, clinical assistant professor and director of dental clinical services for the School of Dentistry, will oversee the clinic. Abena is assisted by an administrator, receptionist, three dental assistants and part-time dental and dental hygiene faculty.

Third and fourth year dental students are scheduled to work in the ten-chair clinic as part of their clinical rotations, Abena said. The students, under faculty supervision, provide the majority of the dental care for patients.

"This is a valuable experience for students to gain a sense of social responsibility and connection to the community, reinforcing basic dental procedures and exposing them to advanced concepts in general dentistry and patient management," Abena said. "Their experiences in this clinic serve as a bridge from the main campus clinics to more of a private practice mindset."

The new clinic primarily provides service to low-income patients or those who are uninsured or underinsured, Abena said. The clinic accepts all state insurances, such as Medicaid. In addition, Abena said the fees are about half the price of other dental practices.

The School of Dentistry received a $1 million grant in 2007 through Wisconsin's Department of Health Services to build two dental clinics, according to University News Briefs. Half of that sum went toward opening the Marquette University School of Dentistry Parkway Clinic, 2906 S. 20th St., last year. The other half helped open the clinic on Capitol Drive, Abena said.

Delta Dental of Wisconsin, a not-for-profit dental service corporation, also donated $250,000 to each clinic, Abena said.

Besides the two community clinics, the School of Dentistry operates an on-campus clinic at 1801 W. Wisconsin Ave. and satellite clinics throughout Wisconsin.

Previously, the School of Dentistry operated clinics at the Isaac Coggs Community Health Center, 2770 N. 5th St., and the Johnston Community Health Center, 1230 W. Grant St. After nearly 30 years of service, the clinics ceased operations in 2006, Abena said.

"The dental school has a long-standing commitment with the city and state to maintain a presence in both the north and south sectors of the city to provide care for underserved populations," Abena said.

The previous spaces were leased by the city of Milwaukee. The facilities had served as school buildings, and the city decided to return them to the school districts, Abena said.

The clinics were part of the Medicare waiver program that funded dental care for its patients. Funding for the program ran out in 2006 — another reason the school's previous dental facilities were retired, Abena said.

The new clinic is about a mile from the former northside clinic,and will likely serve the same population, said William Lobb, dean of the School of Dentistry.

"The previous service area of our former clinic was an important aspect of our decision where to locate the new clinic," Lobb said.

The new site was also identified based on its availability of parking and nearby public transportation, Lobb said. The space was formerly a podiatrist's office.

The space is being leased to the university by Irgens Development Partners LLC, which owns the building, Abena said.

Matt Holtan, a third year dental student, is working at the clinic as part of his clinical rotations. Holtan said he is excited to practice there because of the experience he can gain through procedures like extractions, root canals and fillings.

Holtan decided to become a dentist because it melds technology and medicine. He said the field is progressive and has evolved a lot in the past few decades.

"Dentistry is the perfect blend of technology and medicine," Holtan said. "I can help people while embracing technology to do that."