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New oral and maxillofacial imaging clinic now open at Ohio State

Dean says facility gives dental program new momentum

For many people, a visit to the dentist can be an anxiety-filled experience. Visitors to the new oral and maxillofacial imaging clinic at The Ohio State University’s College of Dentistry may find they have a different issue: staying awake.

The clinic has enabled the college to create a more comfortable environment, improving patient experience, said Joen Iannucci, chair of the oral and maxillofacial radiology division and professor in the college.

“Just yesterday, we had a patient who was having a full series of images taken inside their mouth. I walked by as the student provider was entering notes in the computer and the patient was asleep in the chair,” she said. “They were that relaxed. That never happened in our previous clinic.”

The new imaging clinic opened in Postle Hall at the beginning of January and its impact is already being felt by students and patients alike, said Iannucci.

The nearly 3,200-square-foot facility houses 10 intraoral rooms – for imaging inside the mouth – and three extraoral rooms – for imaging outside the mouth – as well as an additional, flexible room that can serve either purpose. A seminar room, a room with controllable lights for viewing images, and spaces for faculty and students are also part of the new clinic.

Inside the new oral and maxillofacial imaging clinic at College of Dentistry

Above all else, what students comment on is the amount of space, Iannucci said.

“They feel like they have room that they didn’t know they needed,” she said. “They didn’t realize how nice it was to be able to walk all the way around a dental chair.  In our previous location, the chairside space was very limited.”

In addition to more space, the facility’s imaging equipment received an upgrade.

“It’s outfitted with the most contemporary radiology equipment,” said Carroll Ann Trotman, the college’s dean.

Students are then able to practice with equipment they’ll be using after they graduate, Iannucci said. They become more comfortable with the procedures and can perform them more quickly, which enhances the patient care experience.

This practice is critical, Iannucci said. In most offices, dentists do not perform imaging. Instead, they need to be able to teach their staff how to acquire diagnostic images.

“Our students need to know enough so that they can teach imaging techniques, evaluate the images, and troubleshoot problems to be able to correct errors,” she said. “This is critical for quality assurance in their dental practices.”

“What we have here sets us apart,” Trotman said. “It puts us in a position to provide a special education to our students, in a comfortable and beautiful setting.”

Such a setting is not unique to the dental school, she added.

“That’s something I think that Ohio State does well. Our medical areas, just about every one I’ve been into, they try very hard to make that patient experience special.”

The new facility has energized the college, Trotman said.

“Once you generate that kind of excitement, it helps propel you toward all the additional things you want to do,” she said. “You keep that momentum going.”

One of the things Trotman is referring to: A residency program for students wanting to specialize in oral and maxillofacial radiology. There is room in the new clinic for residents once that program has been finalized. “This gives us tremendous potential,” she said. “This provides that opportunity.”

Like her students, Iannucci is thrilled by the new building and the opportunities it is already providing.

“The excitement this has generated is really, for me, once in a lifetime.”

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