How a Dental Clinic Helps Your Mouth—And Your Budget

Tuesday, August 2, 2022
How a Dental Clinic Helps Your Mouth—And Your Budget

Dental care is critical to good health. But the cost of some private practices can be prohibitive. Fortunately, a dental clinic provides expert services for less than what many private practices charge, without sacrificing quality.

 Man seated in dental clinic chair smiles as masked dentist prepares to examine his teeth using her dental pick and mirror.

Strictly speaking, a “dental clinic” is any facility where dentists provide services. But you’ll generally hear the term used to mean practices that charge less than private ones. They fulfill an educational mission, or provide low-cost or free dental services as a public good.

Penn Dental Medicine clinic (PDM) is a teaching dental clinic operating in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Faculty doctors closely supervise each of our student doctors, offering expertise, advice, support, and teaching.

If you’re looking for advanced and affordable dental care, read on for an overview of what to expect from a dental clinic.

What You Can Expect Getting Dental Care at a Clinic

You can find dental clinics at universities (at PDM we often hear ourselves called “the UPenn dental clinic”), hospitals, government offices, and health centers. Some clinics are even mobile.

Your Initial Examination

Once you’ve found a general or specialty dental clinic near you, you’ll make and keep your first appointment. Showing up on time is critical. Dental clinics are busy. Rescheduling will only delay important oral health care services.

During your initial examination, clinicians will record your medical history, and a dentist will perform a brief physical and dental examination.

Your dental health has an impact on your overall health, so responsible dental clinicians don’t consider your mouth in isolation.

“They ask everything they need to know that’s pertinent to your health,” said one of our patients, Marlene. “They can give you all the protocols to take care of your [health]. It’s just great. I love it.”

Your Comprehensive Treatment

 Woman dentist wearing mask reassures reclining dental clinic patient as masked male dentist examines patient’s teeth.

After your examination, the clinic will assign you a doctor. At many dental clinics, including PDM, your doctor will be a student dentist, working under close faculty supervision and guidance.

Your doctor will develop a personalized treatment plan and thoroughly explain your whole course of treatment, highlighting its risks and benefits as well as the prognosis or outcome.

Generally, dental clinics don’t let patients select only portions of this plan, or receive some of the outlined care elsewhere. You might end up switching dentists within the clinic during long-term care, but staying under the same roof is important. (A dental emergency may constitute an exception, or a referral to a specialty dental clinic by another dental professional.)

The plan your dentist recommends will be comprehensive. Receiving all the dental services called for from one clinic ensures clinic staff have all the information they need, increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes for you.

Like many dental clinics, PDM can handle a wide range of dental needs. We offer both general dentistry and these specialties:

  • Hygiene (cleaning)
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics (treatment of gum disease)
  • Dentures
  • Implants
  • Crowns and Bridges
  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral Medicine
  • Orthodontics (braces)

Your Time Commitment

 Two dentists smile at young girl seated in dental clinic chair as they prepare to examine and clean her teeth.

Dental clinic appointments tend to take longer than visits to private practices. At PDM, for instance, our student dentists, while mastering professional skills, are still learning. Your treatment not only improves your oral health but also plays a vital part in their education.

Also, as mentioned, dental clinics are busy places. Clinic dentists often work longer hours and more days than those in private practice. This situation can benefit your busy schedule, but may mean you have to wait longer while dentists work with other patients.

Schedule your time appropriately. At PDM, we recommend patients allow four hours a week for an appointment, either in a full four-hour block or two two-hour blocks. Your student dentist needs the extra time to handle your dental care exactly as instructed and with utmost attention to your needs.

Discover More About Penn Dental Medicine Clinic Today

From a routine cleaning to full orthodontics, and anything in between, PDM provides dental care that exceeds your expectations and can fit your budget.

Our dentists are third- and fourth-year students supervised by some of the nation’s top dentists, who’ve practiced for decades. Your dentist will do everything possible to make you feel comfortable, will use advanced technology and materials, and will demonstrate heightened attention to detail and concern for your oral health.

We accept direct payments from most insurance companies. We also accept all Medicaid plans offered to residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania. For those who qualify, we offer financing options through Care Credit, a third-party provider.

Even our parking is affordable—not always the case in Philadelphia—when you park at The Fresh Grocer at 40th and Walnut Streets.

To find out more about the high quality, low-cost care you can receive at our dental clinic, download a free copy of our eBook, Dental Work Without the Stress.

Or to book your appointment now, please contact us at 215-898-8965, or use this convenient online form.

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