New dental clinic opens at JCU

The JCU Dental school has opened a new clinical practice in Townsville.
The JCU Dental school has opened a new clinical practice in Townsville.

Dental students will hone their skills while offering dental services for disadvantaged patients from this week when James Cook University’s new dental clinic officially opens in Townsville.

The 18-chair JCU Dental facility, housed in the newly opened Clinical Practice Building, started seeing patients from last Thursday (January 30).

While treating patients, students will gain experience in both routine care and complex dental treatments.

Professor John Abbott, Director of Clinical Dentistry at JCU, said JCU Dental Townsville was a student placement facility that aimed to enhance students’ clinical skills.

“JCU Dental aims to increase the students’ skills through excellence in teaching and learning in preparation for a life-long career encompassing clinical, academic and research endeavours,” Professor Abbott said.

Professor Abbott said students would be exposed to new materials and techniques to ensure they had the skills and knowledge to perform dentistry at the highest level.

“This is a collaborative approach to patient care, where patients will be referred to and from other JCU allied health clinics, within the Clinical Practice Facility as appropriate,” he said.

Professor Abbott said JCU’s Bachelor of Dental Surgery had a particular focus on tropical and rural populations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“JCU Dental makes quality dentistry available to disadvantaged groups and addresses the high demand for dentists in rural and remote communities.”

Chair of JCU Dental, Clive Skarott AM, said he was “happy and excited” for the official opening of the 18-chair facility.

“We look forward to working hard to ensure the students utilise the chairs to the benefit of their future clinical skills,” Mr Skarott said.

Professor Abbott said students would be active in oral health education and promotion, based on a sound platform of research.

Students will also be encouraged to be actively involved in their profession through continuing education, research and professional engagement.

Students will be supervised by experienced clinicians as the treatment progresses and appointment times are extended to accommodate close supervision.

“We are grateful for the support of local professionals, including those who already have later-year students on placements in their practices,” he said.

“We also hope those who are interested in sharing their expertise with our future dentists will consider becoming involved as part-time clinical supervisors.

“This is an important day and it is part of our dental school’s commitment to training dentists for regional, rural and remote communities.”

Professor Abbott said the focus of the gathering was to allow the local dental profession to preview the clinic facility, meet the students and demonstrate how the student’s placement was conducted and promote the benefits to the community.

“In addition, we hope to generate some enthusiasm from local dental practitioners to become involved in supervising students—there is always a need for good supervisors.

For more information, go to the school’s website.

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