May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


AAPD Predoctoral Chapter Spotlight

University of Michigan

July 2016 Volume LI Number 4

By Michael Halcomb

The University of Michigan School of Dentistry (UMSOD) is known to be the home of the "Leaders and Best" and has continually led the way in providing comprehensive, specialized health care for families and communities statewide.

One of the services offered at the U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, located on campus and affiliated with the UMSOD, is focused on treating patients with craniofacial anomalies. The level of intensity for some of the dental patients seen at the hospital ranges from complex genetic anomalies and environmental exposures, to more common cleft lip/cleft palate and craniosynostosis deformities.

Being a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) allows me to shadow and work alongside these world-class faculty, thus providing an opportunistic hands-on experience.

The first time I shadowed at the Children’s Hospital with Dr. Katherine Kelly (orthodontist) was during their scheduled craniofacial clinic. On this day, members of the interprofessional craniofacial team work together on the treatment planning/procedures for the wide range of anomalies and syndromes diagnosed to their patients. The craniofacial team consisted of a surgeon, ENT, nurse, mental health professionals, social worker, speech language pathologist, audiologist, primary care physician, orthodontist, and a pediatric dentist. The genuine concern and care for the patients, exhibited by the faculty and providers, was truly inspiring.

Working alongside Dr. Kelly as she visited with each patient and discussed their needs, areas of concern, and progress in their treatment plan was informative, and cemented my foundational knowledge gained within a classroom setting. Many of the patients had congenital disorders, with oligodontia as one of their associated signs, and under Dr. Kelly’s direction I assisted in taking these patient’s oral health records. In addition, I watched as the patient’s treatment plans were reviewed between the patient and their provider, which allowed for optimal treatment reinforcement and progression.

After spending time with their scheduled patients, the craniofacial team met to review their medical findings and discuss future treatment plans. During the meeting, Dr. Kelly was kind enough to explain any areas of medicine that I was not familiar with; which greatly enhanced my learning.

The opportunity, provided by AAPD, to work within an interprofessional oral health care environment and learn how to assist those with special needs has been one of my most valued experiences as a dental student.

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