Dental schools' business booms

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When Aaron Bloch earned his law degree, he lost his eligibility for his father’s dental insurance.

So he went back to school — to find a dentist at the New York University College of Dentistry.

Bloch, 26, of Astoria, was assigned a dental student who gave him an $80 cleaning and filled three cavities at $80 a pop.

“It was one of the most pain-free and flawlessly executed dental experiences I’ve had,” recounted Bloch.

Dental schools are booming as sources of cheap, quality care. NYU, for example, has seen an increase of  10,000 visits in the last year, for a total of 360,000 in that time.

“We’re seeing patients of all economic strata, and a very substantial middle-class population,” said Dr. Mark Wolff, professor and chair of the department of cariology and comprehensive care.

Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine had a 10 percent increase in visits for 2008-09 and another 5 percent jump in the last academic year, noted Dr. Ronnie Myers, Columbia’s vice dean for administrative affairs.

The schools offer services such as  orthodontics and implants, as well as teeth whitening.
Kara Tabor, 22, an uninsured Harlem actress, had an NYU dental professor perform her emergency root canal before a student took over the creation of her crown. 

“I never liked going to the dentist, but I don’t mind going to see him because he’s so wonderful,” she said.

Cost-cutters

Where you can go to put a (cheap) smile on your face:

• Lutheran Medical Center Dental Clinic 150 55th St., Brooklyn; sliding fee scale; assessment visit ranges from $15 to $45

• Columbia University Teaching Clinic 622 W. 168th St.; significantly lower fees than private practices; full service

• New York University College of Dentistry 345 E. 24th St.; fees are at least 50 percent lower than in private practice; fillings may be as low as $95; implants as low as $1,250 apiece

Tags: News , Money , Columbia University , NYU , Dental School

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