JCU Dental is celebrating a major milestone this month, having treated over 40,000 individual new patients in the past four and a half years.
Patients at the not-for-profit dental clinic at James Cook University’s Cairns campus are treated by student dentists in the third and fourth years of their studies, under the watchful tutelage of experienced clinical supervisors.
“While we’re celebrating 40,000 brighter and healthier smiles, we also want to thank those 40,000 far north Queenslanders who have helped us train the next generation of dentists,” Head of Dentistry Professor Neil Meredith said.
“Students and staff would like to express their enormous gratitude to each and every patient for their time, trust and patience,” Professor Meredith said. “Our aim is to train dentistry graduates who are ready and well-equipped to work in regional and remote areas, and we couldn’t do that without the support of our community.”
Professor Meredith said students often nominated working in the clinic as a highlight of their studies.
“It’s not just because they gain invaluable clinical experience, but because they also see first-hand what a difference they can make to a person’s health and quality of life,” he said.
JCU Dental business manager Gillian Shaw said the vast majority of the clinic’s patients held health care cards.
“Patients came from as far away as Cooktown and Ravenshoe, and they range from young children to the elderly,” she said. “We’ve been able to significantly reduce Queensland Health’s public dentistry waiting list for our region, and we see no sign of the demand for our services levelling off.”
JCU Dental has 99 chairs in its state-of-the-art Cairns clinic.
“We also operate a 20-chair clinic at JCU in Townsville, which is a placement facility for our fifth year students. Support for that clinic has been equally strong,” Professor Meredith said.
Information about JCU Dental is available on freecall 1800 050 763.