Dental Surgery:

In the last two years the department of Dentistry has welcomed Drs. Stephen Wilson and Jill Easton. Dr. Wilson serves as chair of the department. Dr. Easton is the director of the new Healthy Smiles Clinic. Major quality improvements, new software for tracking patient accounts and the opening of the Healthy Smiles Clinic, in partnership with the University of Colorado School of Dentistry, have expanded and enhanced the department’s ability to treat young patients throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

Stephen Wilson, DMD, MA, PhD
with six-year-old Vanessa

The Children’s Hospital department of Pediatric Dentistry serves more than 15,000 infants, children and adolescents each year. Recognized as experts in pediatric dentistry, the dental staff treats both healthy and medically compromised children. With a focus on providing a continuum of care, Children’s pediatric dentists interact with a broad range of specialties throughout the hospital including pediatric medicine, emergency care, diagnostic and restorative programs, the pharmacy department, and child growth and development programs. The department of Pediatric Dentistry also includes the dental surgery program, which performed nearly 2,000 surgeries in 2002.

Quality improvements
A new mobile system for storage of operating supplies and instruments was developed with the assistance of community dentists who use the hospital’s dental operating suites. Rolling carts, organized by procedure, offer easy access to supplies and instruments in the operating rooms. The carts are identical and can be used in any of the operating suites. Stocked with as many premixed and disposable products as possible, they have reduced preparatory time in the OR. The success of the system resulted in the adoption of the same rolling supply carts on the clinic floor. Efficiency has improved. Feedback from community dentists has reinforced the decision to “go mobile.” The collaboration between community dentists and staff dentists has established a good foundation for partnering on additional improvements.

New computer hardware and a new software system for tracking patients’ accounts were brought on line during the third quarter of 2002. Scheduling and billing efficiency and accuracy substantiallyimproved. A month after installation, the department experienced the best accounts receivable report in its history.

An extensive program assessment project in the fall of 2002 evaluated workflow patterns, staffing patterns, resource utilization, inventory usage and purchase decisions. Though the results of the study are still being analyzed, workflow patterns have already been altered to shorten patient turnaround times. Shorter sittings in the dental chair are a happy improvement for our young patients and their parents.

Residency Program and Commitment
to Treat Underserved Kids
The department of Dentistry is one of 56 accredited training programs in pediatric dentistry in the United States. The department offers a recognized formal residency program in pediatric dentistry, one of only 19 hospital-based programs in the country. The pediatric dentistry residency program offers weekly issues seminars on Pediatric Dentistry. Seminars cover such topics as pediatric anatomy and physiology, patient assessment and diagnostic evaluation, restorative care, orthodontics, prevention and periodontal disease, traumatology, behavior management and sedation, pulp biology and endodontics, research design, statistics, pharmacology, genetics, embryology, microbiology, immunology and fluoride therapy.

Through the department’s affiliation with the University of Colorado School of Dentistry, collaborations with Head Start programs and the Denver Public Schools Migrant Education program we have provided dental care for children in a traditionally underserved population. In 2002, Pediatric Dentistry at The Children’s Hospital, the University of Colorado School of Dentistry and corporate and public partners opened the Healthy Smiles Clinic on the Fitzsimons campus. The clinic provides basic dental care for low-income or uninsured children. Jill Easton, BDS, MS, and her staff of dental residents and volunteer community dentists expect to see over 20,000 children at the clinic over the next several years.

Stephen Wilson, DMD, MA, PhD, is one of a handful of dentists in the country actively involved in sedation and behavior management research related to pediatric dentistry. Barbara Hymer, DDS, collaborates with the department of Oncology at The Children’s Hospital to assess dental side effects of cancer therapy. She has begun a seminal study in the use of oral rinses in treating the side effects of chemotherapy. Dr. Hymer is also gathering and analyzing data from the large population of children seen in the operating room to determine the efficacy of full-mouth dental rehabilitation under general anesthesia. Thane Crump, DDS, researches facial pain, pulp therapy and behavior management. Dr. Easton has studied the effect of tooth pain on the quality of life of children and their families.

The department is involved in the ongoing development and expansion of the Healthy Smiles Clinic and programs for the underserved children of the Rocky Mountain region. Additionally, the department is integrally involved in the planning of clinical dental facilities on the Fitzsimons campus. Implementation of recommendations based on the 2002 program assessment project are expected to increase clinical efficiency; support recruitment, retention and development of staff; and raise awareness of pediatric dental treatment options within the professional community and with the general public.



Healthy Smiles Clinic Helps Under Served Kids

Dental decay is the most common infectious disease of childhood and the most preventable. Children from low-income families experience a disproportionate share of dental decay and oral disease. These children are historically under-served by traditional dental care providers.

A unique partnership between the University of Colorado School of Dentistry and The Children’s Hospital has created the largest and most innovative regional clinic for children who have limited access to dental care. The Healthy Smiles Clinic opened in November, 2002 on the Fitzsimons campus in Aurora. Pediatric dentists from The Children’s Hospital and the School of Dentistry, as well as volunteer dentists from the community, provide pediatric dental care to children who are uninsured or from low-income families.

Building 514 was the primary dental care site for the U.S. Army Base Hospital at Fitzsimons up until its closure in 1997. Saved from demolition by forward-thinking faculty, the clinic has been remodeled for a new role. Today, the Healthy Smiles Clinic delivers comprehensive oral health care services to children in need. All equipment, materials and care are designed for kids.