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  May 6, 2002

Bond Funds Okayed for Dental School
By Pat Keefe

The state Bond Commission has approved $1.7 million in capital expenditures for the School of Dental Medicine.

The bulk of the money, more than $1.5 million, is earmarked for new surgical lighting and dental chairs in the various clinics. Of the remainder, $100,000 is intended for a new dust collection system in the lab where dental prostheses are manufactured, and the rest is for monitors and specialized equipment in the clinics.

"We're a top dental school and, in every respect, we need new equipment," says Peter J. Robinson, dean of the School of Dental Medicine. "With this bond authorization, we'll get it. And now our students will learn in an up-to-date clinic and our patients will be treated in a better environment, with contemporary equipment."

Dental chairs include more than just the apparatus in which the patient sits or, these days, reclines. Lights that don't cast shadows are part of the unit, as are service components, such as attachments for water, suction, and air for drying, as well as for powering high- and low-speed drills.

Some of the existing dental chairs are almost 25 years old, says Lamont "Monty" MacNeil, associate dean for dental academic affairs.

"Normal lifespan for a dental chair is about 10 years," Dr. MacNeil says. "Some of the chairs in our clinics are going on 25 years old, so we need new ones badly. This authorization will let us upgrade our equipment and create user-friendly clinics where patients are comfortable."

Individual units cost around $25,000.

The bond commission authorization for new equipment is another step in the renovation of the dental school's clinics. Health Center Information Technology is wiring the clinics to upgrade on-line, chair-side capabilities, and construction is under way to modernize and improve sterile procedures.

Resident clinics offer advanced general dentistry; endodontics; root canal therapy; orthodontics and braces; pediatric dentistry at Connecticut Children's Medical Center and the Burgdorf Clinic; periodontics, gum disease and dental implants; prosthodontics, crowns, bridges, implants, and dentures; and oral and maxillofacial surgery.

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