Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

New Inclusive Dental Care Clinic Will Serve Patients with Special Needs

patient in wheelchair smiling at registration desk with front desk staff
six people in formal attire, standing in the entrance to the clinic, and preparing to cut a large red ribbon

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 29, the UIC College of Dentistry formally inaugurated its new Inclusive Care Clinic. The clinic is specially designed to treat patients who have physical and cognitive disabilities, behavioral conditions, mental illness and developmental conditions such as autism. Dr. Leda Mugayar, clinical associate professor of pediatric dentistry and director of the new clinic, explained that patients with special needs often find it almost impossible to obtain oral healthcare. “Pediatric dentists stop seeing them once they become young adults, and general dentists often do not provide care for them. So there is a strong need for such a clinic and program,” she said. “There is no other clinical care combined within a dental school educational program like this in the Chicago area and Illinois. Everything in this clinic has been chosen for patients with specialized needs, from calming colors to enhanced equipment.” The new clinic will also make teledentistry available to patients, offering dental students their first introduction to the concept.

a woman in a wheelchair helping to demonstrate the accessible services in the clinic

“There was a growing recognition that not only could our students benefit, but the community really needed the support,” explained Dr. Susan Rowan, interim dean of the College of Dentistry. “Many of the patients have Medicaid insurance and have few options in the community for specialized care.” UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Robert Barish highlighted the integral role the College of Density is playing in providing a wide spectrum of oral health services. “We appreciate the value of this interaction among our dental students, faculty and researchers and how it contributes to our ability to address the robust health needs of our communities – and often complex procedures that rely on our network of expertise,” he said. “This Inclusive Care Clinic is another outstanding addition to the scope of oral health care provided by the college.”

The new clinic was made possible through the generosity of several benefactors, with the major sponsor being Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, which committed funding for construction and infrastructure.