Community Work and Staff…
by Lisa Spellman, UNMC public affairs
Dentist Jane Bennett, D.D.S., giggled at the question.
“Yes, I am,” replied Dr. Bennett, waving her magic wand decorated with the same powder-blue sequins and satin ribbon that adorned her floor-length gown.
“You can’t be,” blurted another. “The real tooth fairy has blue eyes!”
The youths, all third-graders from Mary Our Queen School, were taking a tour of UNMC Feb. 16 with their classmates.
During their half-day visit, the children learned about the different instruments a surgeon might use, how to wrap a sprained wrist and the importance of good oral health care from Dr. Bennett and Marty Killeen, D.D.S., both residents with the UNMC Pediatric Dental Clinic located in the Munroe-Meyer Institute.
“Part of our mission here is to educate children and youth early about the importance of good oral health whenever the opportunity presents itself,” said Fouad S. Salama, B.D.S., M.S., associate professor and director of the pediatric dentistry postgraduate program for the UNMC College of Dentistry.
Right now, the pediatric dental clinic serves more than 4,000 patients, ranging in age from 8 months to 18 years. The pediatric dental residents and practicing pediatric dentists at the clinic also are qualified to treat patients with special needs of any age in the dental office or in the operating room under general anesthesia. “Our dentists are skilled at interacting with people with developmental disabilities in a way that shows the patient the utmost respect and care he or she deserves,” Dr. Salama said.
Just like with any other patient, Dr. Bennett said, it is just a matter of being sensitive to the person’s feelings.
Dr. Bennett recalled one particular patient who was blind and apprehensive about getting a tooth filled.
“I can remember working with this patient who was receiving a filling for the first time. She was very anxious about the treatment, but by allowing her to touch and feel each instrument and material I would be using, she was able to understand the process and the treatment she was receiving,” she said. “It was satisfying to me that I could help her to feel comfortable about something she could not see.”
Dr. Bennett said that because she has had the opportunity to care for many special needs patients at the clinic, she has gained a confidence in being able to communicate and treat their oral health needs.