Appointments, Services, Students

Bridge Clinic: Addressing Community Needs

FPD Flyer

Skilled, compassionate patient care is what sets UNC Adams School of Dentistry and Carolina Dentistry apart from other practices and dental schools, and these efforts often help those most in need in our communities. This type of outreach makes a difference for patients across North Carolina, and for the second consecutive year, ASOD and Carolina Dentistry will offer its Bridge Clinic to serve those in need on Friday afternoons Aug. 4 through Dec. 8.

The clinic is faculty and student staffed and offers bridge work at up to 75% off typical prices for this type of restoration. Patients interested in participating in the clinic must register ahead of time and attend an afternoon screening appointment July 10 or Aug. 4 and prior to the bridge clinic appointment. Walk-ins are welcome for screening appointments.

These clinics benefit both patients and students, allowing patients to get top-notch dental work at lower than average rates and for students to gain more experience in restoration work. It also allows students to learn more about the communities they will serve in their professional lives.

“Our fall semester Senior Bridge Clinic provides the Adams School of Dentistry with an opportunity to give back to our community and patients, while educating our students. The financial incentive of 75% off of our usual student fees for bridgework allows us to reach more people,” said Lisa Stoner, DDS, associate dean of clinic operations. “One of the greatest gifts that we can give as dental providers is a healthy and pleasing smile. Last year’s clinic was a success on this front, allowing both our students and patients to have experienced that joy.”

Olivia Nillisen, DS 4, said her experience with the clinic in 2022 was a valuable part of her education that was both challenging and fulfilling.

“In dental school, I have learned that the most challenging and complex treatments are the ones from which I gain and grow the most,” Nillisen said. “This experience really encouraged me to embrace the patient, challenge and the learning process! Despite the fact that they require more effort on my part, I have learned to never shy away from a challenge but rather take advantage of the expertise of my amazing faculty to learn all that I can while in school.”

Caroline Allbert, DS 4, said her experience at the bridge clinic in 2022 was rewarding and allowed her to see the impact her work had on patients.

“Events like Bridge Clinic address the unmet need for treatment options like fixed partial dentures. Although implants are now the standard of care for most single edentulous spaces, cost remains a barrier for many patients,” Allbert said. “Prior to the clinic, my patient planned to pause our treatment plan in order to save money. Bridge clinic allowed him to realize his goal of a healthy and confident smile, and we were able to achieve this within two months rather than two years!”

The clinic setting also gives students a taste of what the future holds for their dental careers.

“My patient’s smile at the first and last appointments made this clinic worthwhile,” Allbert said. “He expressed sincere gratitude for the opportunity to stay on track with our treatment plan. At our final visit he held up the mirror, flashed his new pearly white smile, and then gave me a hug.”