Where is the largest group dental practice in Massachusetts? New England? Some of the finest dentists in the world practice there. They use the latest materials and techniques. The dentists stay up to date by participating in continuing education, but even more they provide continuing education for other dentists around the world. Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) is a premier teaching institution and a premier oral health care facility. Dentists all over New England refer their patients to Tufts for general and specialty treatment. Perhaps, Tufts’ dental school should be your next dental office.
At One Kneeland ST, in Boston’s Theater District / Chinatown neighborhood, TUSDM is easily accessible by public transportation. The New England Medical Center orange line station is right across the street from the school. Due to traffic and confusing downtown streets, the T is the easiest way to get to a morning appointment on time or get home quickly after an afternoon appointment. For those who must drive into the school, there is a large parking garage next door to the Wang Center on Tremont St; dental school receptionists can validate parking tickets for a discount.
Similar to private practice, the dental school accepts some insurance and not others. Tufts accepts MassHealth and Delta Dental. The business office of the school clinic will answer questions about fees and other insurance.
The dental school is made up of many clinics. Each clinic provides treatment depending on patients’ age and needs. For example, Tufts has both a geriatric department for elderly patients and a department of oral pediatrics for children.
Most patients receive their treatment in the general dental clinic. This is the least expensive clinic in the school. It is also the largest. Predoctoral students, who will become dentists, treat patients under the close supervision of highly qualified generalists and specialists. Predoctoral students are able to provide comprehensive treatment ranging from regular checkups to gum treatments, fillings, dentures and implants. Patients appreciate the quality of their treatment and the low cost. They enjoy being an integral part of the education of brilliant young dentists.
Many new patients require treatment that is outside the abilities of a doctor in training. The school may assign those patients to a post doctoral clinic where dentists learn advanced techniques. Post doctoral clinics that accept their own patients include the General Practice Residency where dentists receive additional training after finishing dental school, the Post Graduate Prosthetics department, where dentists study advanced techniques of replacing and rebuilding teeth, and the Esthetic Dentistry Department where dentists study cosmetic dental treatments. While the treatments these clinics provide overlap, each has a special focus. The doctors who screen new patients know the best clinic for each.
For a screening appointment, call Patient Admissions at (617) 636-6828. Receptionists make appointments for approximately 24 new adult patients during each morning and afternoon session Monday through Friday. Screening appointments begin with an interview by an undergraduate dental student. The student will ask a panel of health questions and explain the details of how the general dental clinic operates. One of the supervising doctors will examine the new patient and determine what kind of treatment the patient will need and will prescribe necessary x-rays. This doctor, a practice coordinator, will decide which clinic will best serve the patient. Occasionally, the doctors will help the patient realize that they are better served by a dentist who practices in their community.
The emergency clinic accepts walk in patients on a first come first served basis at 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM. In the emergency clinic, predoctoral students help patients with pain, and broken teeth. The predoctoral students work closely with a general dentist and a post doctoral endodontic (root canal specialist) student. Those who seek emergency care, may apply to become patients in the general clinic.
Pre and post doctoral students work together to treat Tufts’ youngest patients in the Department of Oral Pediatrics. Parents may call (617)636-6971 for an appointment. Tufts’ pedodontists provide treatment to children in the department’s clinic and in the New England Medical Center’s operating suite.
Older patients appreciate special care. The Geriatric Department works closely with students in the general clinic to fine tune and quicken the pace of care for their elderly patients. Call Patients Admissions at (617) 636-6828, and ask for the geriatric department.
Tufts Department of Orthodontics teaches dentists to straighten teeth. Outside dentists and Tufts dental school dentists commonly refer patients for inexpensive, high quality, orthodontic treatment. Just as easily, the department invites the public to call and ask for an appointment for themselves and their children. (617) 636-6887 will ring up the friendly receptionist of the Post Graduate Orthodontic Clinic.
There are post graduate specialty clinics that work with outside general dentists to provide lower cost options to seeing the specialist to whom their dentist may usually refer. These departments train dentists to be specialists. The Post Graduate Departments of Periodontology and Endodontics require written referrals from private dentists. They will not take patients who do not have a general dentist in or out of the school. These departments will ask for written referrals and most recent sets of x-rays. Call (617) 636-6888.
The Department of Post Graduate Prosthodontics teaches general dentists advanced techniques to replace and repair teeth. They are the best bet for people who have had trouble with dentures or who will have many or all of their teeth rebuilt with crowns, bridges, dentures, and implants. They are happy to see any patient who calls them for an appointment. Please bring any recent x-rays to the first appointment.
Finally, many members of the Tufts teaching staff practice in the Faculty Practice on the eighth floor. (Others, like the author, maintain practices in communities around New England). Their patients expect world the best possible dental treatment and do not mind paying a premium for that piece of mind. Their direct line to the Faculty Practice is (617) 636-6678.
Most people will find that the best dentist for them is near their home or work. Their friends and family recommend this dentist. That neighborhood dentist knows the community and invests their time there. Some will elect to obtain treatment in a dental school. They may appreciate the cost savings of the general clinic, the advanced techniques and training of the post graduate clinics, or the experience of the faculty practice. Finally, they will treasure the quality dental treatment they receive.