attendees at the ADEA Annual Session and Exhibition boarded a bus Saturday
morning for The Center for Pediatric Dentistry, a joint venture of the University of Washington (UW) School
of Dentistry and Seattle
About 20 minutes later, they disembarked in the Sand Point Naval Air Station District, a former military site not far from
the UW campus that has been designated a Landmark District by the city of
Seattle. Before them stood a former administrative building whose 1937 Art Deco
façade gave little hint that its current occupants are hard at work most days
improving the oral health of area children.
2010, the UW School of Dentistry moved its pediatric dental clinic to the site
following a renovation that transformed the interior to reflect contemporary
tastes and current trends in dental education and patient care. Blond wood
cabinetry and muted colors on the floors and walls create a soothing
environment. The rooms are open and bright, but the light is never glaring.
Open pod bays face window walls lined with cushioned benches where parents can
spacious. You can breathe,” observes architect Brian Yachyshen whose firm, Bohlin
Cywinski Jackson, has
designed a number of dental schools. He praised the open design, the presence
of natural light, and the opportunities for patients to look out and have their
attributes echo the conscious desire of the UW dental team to allay the fears
of their young patients and to treat them holistically, as members of families.
To this end, the clinic has a social worker on staff full time to assist
families to ensure that patients are available for treatment. Seventy percent
of the Center’s patients are on Medicaid, and many families have difficulties
facility has 26 chairs in open pod bays, four quiet rooms, and one operating
room. Every station is set up to accommodate left and right-handed dentists,
and monitors are mounted in the ceiling above the chairs so that patients can
focus on something other than their dental work. Medically compromised patients
are still seen at Children’s Hospital, where the clinic previously resided, but
the space is designed to accommodate patients with disabilities, including
those who rely on wheelchairs.
move to a new building has also allowed UW to expand the number of pediatric
dental residents from 6 to 13. As a result, the clinic is able to treat 100
patients a day, significantly shortening appointment wait time for patients.
The building also houses a faculty practice that includes specialty clinics,
and three or four times a week oral surgery is performed under general
anesthesia in the OR. This integrative approach means that patients can be
referred within the building for most conditions.
Sarvas, D.D.S., who guided much of the tour, noted that Seattle Children’s
Hospital is a magnet for pediatric patients from many states in need of care
for rare or difficult-to-treat conditions. She is currently a resident pursuing
master’s degrees in pediatric dentistry and public health, and she appreciates
the opportunity the clinic gives her to see so many challenging patients.
learn how to manage them,” she says. “We don't have to refer out. We have the
tools here to deal with whatever comes.”
building also includes surprisingly cheerful space in the basement, which
houses supplies, sterilization, faculty offices, desk space for residents, and
dedicated space for research. The Center currently has eight active clinical
research studies, and it participates in the National
Dental Practice-Based Research Network.
on the tour appeared to be uniformly impressed. Adjectives like warm,
welcoming, and inviting were audible as visitors enjoyed the generous buffet in
an airy room on the facility’s top floor. Among them was Warren Brill, D.M.D.,
M.S. (HYG), FAAPD, President-elect of the American Academy of Pediatric
Dentistry, who called
the clinic a model that others might aspire to.