NYU Launches New Oral Health Center For People With Disabilities

New York City residents with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities will now be able to receive much-needed dental care, thanks to the opening of the New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry’s Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities.

Located in the NYU College of Dentistry’s Weissman Building, the 8,000-square-foot center offers comprehensive care for individuals whose medical conditions or disabilities prevent them from receiving dental care in a conventional setting, according to a NYU release.

“The NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities addresses a major public health challenge by providing comprehensive, compassionate dental care for people with a full range of disabilities who experience significant barriers to accessing care,” said Dr. Charles N. Bertolami, the Herman Robert Fox Dean of the NYU College of Dentistry. “Equally important, care at the center is ongoing. By providing dental care across each patient’s lifespan, the center aims to break the vicious cycle of neglect and repeated hospitalization.”

Approximately 950,000 people out of the total 8.5 million living in New York City have some type of disability, including 99,000 who use wheelchairs. Recent studies have shown that people with disabilities have worse oral hygiene than the general population and are not as likely to have access to dental care services.

The new center was designed to fulfill the needs of people with the many different forms of disabilities. The Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities was built from a $12 million renovation by Henningson, Durham & Richardson Architecture and Engineering, P.C.

The center houses nine spacious patient treatment rooms – two of which are fully equipped sedation suites to provide inhaled and intravenous sedation administered under anesthesiologists supervision.

“Our on-site sedation options eliminate the need for most patients to be referred to hospitals,” said Dr. Ronald Kosinski, clinical director of the center and clinical associate professor at NYU College of Dentistry. “In cases where general anesthesia is required, patients can be treated by specially trained NYU Dentistry faculty at one of our hospital affiliates—NYU Langone Health or Bellevue Hospital Center—but remain patients of record at the NYU College of Dentistry.”

The new center is staffed by multidisciplinary faculty, a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a social worker, three patient-service representatives, a patient care coordinator and a clinic manager, the release said.

Senior dental students will provide basic dental care not requiring sedation.

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