MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University School of Dentistry believes its latest round of innovation will improve oral health outcomes in West Virginia.
In laymen’s terms, Dr. Anthony T. Borgia said the funding that paid for state-of-the-art new high-tech equipment is going to cut down on how often patients in northern West Virginia find themselves at the dentist.
“Since we’re the only dental school in the northern part of the state, we get patients three and four hour drives away,” he said. “They would have to come for multiple visits. Now we’ll be able to do much of what they need in a single visit.”
The partnership between “industry and academics” allowed for the acquisition of what, normally, would be very expensive equipment. Machines that are the dental equivalent of medical CT scan and machines that build crowns on-site are among the examples of the equipment featured at the new Innovation Center, provided in part by the Center for Research & Education in Technology.
“Anyone that might be familiar with having a crown made or having dentures, that’s usually a multi-step process where impressions are taken and it has to go to a lab,” Borgia said. “But this equipment will allow us to do it all in one, all at the same site.”
WVU was selected as one of just three schools in North America to receive a CRET Innovation Center, which features about $500,000 worth of new dental equipment that the school can use for free over the life of a contract. The center and it’s on-loan equipment will be open to the state’s private dentists.
“The face of dentistry truly is changing, just like it is in medicine,” Borgia said. “It’s high tech, but unfortunately with high tech you get high price with the equipment. And that’s why we’re so grateful that we have this Innovation Center.”
The Center will also simulate a private practice for fourth-year dentistry students. Borgia said this center can be a major step in changing oral health outcomes, but also overall health outcomes for West Virginians.
“We want to translate that to the citizens of West Virginia and have them stop the cycle of losing their teeth and not being able to masticate or to function,” he said.
An open house to showcase the new Innovation Center is scheduled for Thursday.