Smile Clinic to Support Pediatric Dental Care at UH Rainbow
High quality pediatric dental care is an unmet need in the greater Cleveland area. Nationally, there is a shortage of dentofacial medical facilities to address the complex conditions of children suffering craniofacial issues resulting from congenital defect, traumatic injury or oncology.
As it has for more than 130 years, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is taking the lead to ensure our most vulnerable patients receive the best quality care. The Smile Clinic, integrating pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, advanced craniomaxillofacial surgery and ophthalmology, will open next year at UH Rainbow, a first in Ohio and only the second of its kind in the U.S.
The welcoming, child-friendly space will be home to compassionate, high quality care for more than 4,500 pediatric patients annually who suffer from facial-skeletal deformities, including cleft lip or palate, traumatic facial injuries, post-cancer treatment and congenital conditions.
The facility was brought to fruition through the benevolence of Tom and Anne Jenkins, who donated $1 million to the project. Anne Jenkins recalls being a dental patient herself: “My orthodontia work, and then 30 years later our son’s, made each of us feel so much better about how we looked and about ourselves as a whole," she shared. "My husband Tom and I are fascinated by the new dental techniques available, and it is exciting to play a role in helping young people receive corrections that will improve not just their health, but their self-esteem, their outlook and their future.”
The Smile Clinic will also provide care for patients with special health care and behavioral needs, for whom a dental procedure can be particularly difficult. The safety and experience of at-risk patients are a priority of the Delta Dental Foundation (DDF), which granted the clinic $100,000 for state-of-the-art imagery equipment, surgical simulation and precision tools. “Dental care is often the number one unmet health need for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Holli Seabury, EdD, executive director of DDF. “The Smile Clinic will be a crucial resource for thousands of people who might otherwise have limited options for care.”
Going to the dentist is anxiety-provoking under the best of circumstances, and for children all the more so. Through the provision of a cheery, safe environment and the utilization of state-of-the-art equipment by this region’s finest dental and surgical specialists, the UH Rainbow Smile Clinic will most certainly live up to its name.