A modern dental and oral health center has become 22.Th special by MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Center, a sign of the site’s remarkable evolution. The stall opened in the former Citadel Mall in late December 2019, a month before the first confirmed case of COVID in the US — not exactly the right time.
However, the tent saw 64,000 patients last year alone. The addition of the dental clinic brings the expertise of the James Medical University of South Carolina. B. Edwards College of Dentistry to Charleston’s crowded classroom.
“This is an example of foresight,” James B. Edwards’ widow Ann said at the ribbon cutting.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg agreed. “It’s a customer base. And while I certainly love and encourage people to come downtown and enjoy what we have, the concept of bringing our services to the citizens of West Ashley — that’s what this whole center is about,” he said. “I think you’re going to be very successful.”
The clinic has four treatment rooms, an on-site imaging and full-time dentist, and MUSC faculty members who specialize in dentistry also come to see patients. The clinic will focus on patient needs and collaborative services prescribed by existing MUSC Health patients, said Sarandeep Hooja, D.D.S., Ph.D., dean of the School of Dentistry.
“In addition to great dentistry, eventually we’ll have all specialties and all levels of care — it’s important that our faculty, residents, students, and students have the same level of experience as they do in private practice.”
Paul Davis, DMD and member of the MUSC Board of Trustees, spoke of the foresight that led to the creation of the clinic. “Today’s ceremony represents an important milestone in the vision of Dr. Hooja and his team, a vision shared and supported by Dr. Cole and Dr. Cowley and MUSC Health,” said MUSC President David Cole. MD, and MUSC Health CEO Patrick Cowley, MD
“This vision emphasizes the importance of oral health in relation to overall health and well-being,” Davis said.
Cole focused on the efforts that helped make that vision a reality. “It is an honor to be able to lead so many talented and hardworking people who are working hard to make a difference in people’s lives. There’s only one example, you know, so those are words from the heart. Thank you for what you do.”
Board Chair James Lemon, DMD, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, as did Jin Hong, MD, executive director of MUSC Health, and Lisa Saladin, PT, PhD, executive vice president and provost for academic affairs.
Huja said the West Ashley Dental Clinic is, if not the first, on MUSC’s downtown campus, and that growth will continue. And it serves as a possible sign for patients. “Why is this clinic important? The relationship between systemic and oral health is illustrated by this integrated care model that MUSC offers here at the West Ashley Medical Pavilion.
Ann Edwards said the clinic will bring a much-needed alternative to academic medical center-backed dental expertise for people living in West Ashley. “It is very good of you to come to them. And that is very important. Thank you to everyone who made it possible.”
To schedule an appointment at the MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion dental clinic, call 843-876-9267.