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Marquette’s Dental School celebrates 125 years

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Marquette’s Dental School celebrates 125 years

The dental school has been open since 1894.

The dental school has been open since 1894.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

The dental school has been open since 1894.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Photo by Elena Fiegen

The dental school has been open since 1894.

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The Marquette School of Dentistry celebrates its 125th anniversary this year as the first and only dental school in the state of Wisconsin since 1894.

“Celebrating the last 125 years shows the commitment Marquette University, dental alumni, the dental profession and patients around the state have to the School of Dentistry,” Conrad Nenn, the department chair of clinical services and the clinic director of the dental school, said.

The mission of the Marquette University School of Dentistry is to achieve excellence in education, research and service, resulting in high quality oral health care, according to the school’s website.

Nenn said the school is very focused on the service portion of the mission statement because of the students’ work in the community.

“Students can earn service points completing various activities like screening children for dental needs, providing oral hygiene instruction in schools and nursing homes and assisting at the Wisconsin Dental Association’s Mission of Mercy,” Nenn said. “Our students also provide dental care to populations who don’t have access to routine dental care in Milwaukee and other areas of the state, from Chippewa Falls to Lac du Flambeau to Appleton.”

Through the dental school’s service, its impact extends beyond Marquette’s campus to different areas in Wisconsin and the City of Milwaukee.

Mary Lovell, a graduate student in the dentistry school, said D1 class, which is a first year dental school class, has a rotation in the Milwaukee Public School System where they interact with third graders and teach them the importance of oral health and hygiene. 

“I know students here are making a positive impact on the area directly … We really are making a difference in our society,” Lovell said. 

Nenn said  being the only dental school in Wisconsin “means the residents of Wisconsin will always have access to quality oral health care pretty much anywhere in the state.”

William Lobb, dean of the dental school, said the school serves a significant number of patients in the three clinics: the clinic inside the dental school and the North and South Community Dental Clinics within the City of Milwaukee. The patients range from pediatric to geriatric, and come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, Lobb said. 

According to the dental school’s website, dental students provide services in the three clinics under the supervision of licensed dentists. 

According to the website, the dental school and the other two clinics provide a full range of  dental services such as, orthodontics, oral surgery, restorative dentistry, and more.

The dental school served 17,678 patients through 97,773 patient visits in Milwaukee clinics, Lobb said.  

The dental school is the largest provider in the State of Wisconsin for Medicaid dental services.  Many of these patients don’t always have access to care elsewhere,” Nenn said.

Lobb said the dental school has also grown in recent years through the new dental school built in 2012, an increase in student enrollment to 100 freshmen a year and an additional postgraduate program in Periodontics, a specialty to prevent, diagnose and treat gum disease. 

To celebrate the success and impact of the dental school,  Lobb said the school is in the planning stages for special events for the 125th anniversary. 

“Attending (the dental school) during the 125th anniversary is a humbling feeling because it means I’m a part of a 125-year tradition of dental care throughout Wisconsin,” Lovell said. “The legacy Marquette has left on the community is something to be proud of.” 

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