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New Center for Oral Health Care and Research Opens at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

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With the opening of its new Center for Oral Health Care and Research, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry (UTHSCSA SOD) has a modern, technologically advanced facility that will enable the school to bring improved multispecialty dental care, education, training and research to South Texas.


Center for Oral Health Care and Research
Located at 8210 Floyd Curl Drive, the 198,000-square-foot, $96.5 million facility features 400 dental chairs, along with radiology facilities, simulation labs and research space. It was designed to enhance patient comfort and convenience and reflect as closely as possible the clinical environments in which students will ultimately practice. 

Adjacent to the Medical Arts & Research Center (MARC), the clinical home of the university’s School of Medicine’s faculty practice, the location facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and allows patients to conveniently access a full range of dental and medical care in one location. The facility was designed by a joint venture with architecture firms Kahler Slater of Milwaukee, WI, and Marmon Mok Architecture of San Antonio. Teams from the Houston and San Antonio offices of Vaughn Construction provided general contracting services.

“The new building enables the school to provide multispecialty care in a modern space that is designed to provide the best possible patient experience,” says Larry Schnuck, AIA, Kahler Slater Vice President and leader of the firm’s higher education specialty practice area. “That will help the school attract additional patients, ensuring that it continues to obtain and conduct important clinical research and helping it sustain its top-tier ranking in education, research and patient care.”

The first two floors are devoted to faculty practice in various specialties, including endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, geriatric dentistry, orthodontics and prosthodontics. They also house spaces for dental research and advanced education for residents. The third and fourth floors are home to a 200-operatory general dentistry clinic where third- and fourth-year dental and dental hygiene students will train.

Combining Patient-friendly Design, Latest Technology
Key features of the Center for Oral Health Care and Research include the following:

  • Operatories are outfitted with the latest technology, including digital lighting and examination equipment, extra-large monitors to facilitate the viewing of dental images by practitioners and patients, computers for use in accessing and maintaining electronic oral health records, and an environmentally friendly automated system that cleans water lines and treats waste water at the dental chair.
  • For patients undergoing more extensive procedures, the facility includes a dental surgery operating room and overnight recovery area built to hospital specifications.
  • The intuitive floor plan is designed for easy navigating by patients. Related clinics and administrative spaces are near each other. Waiting areas and other patient-related activities, such as registration, are next to the clinics.
  • Clean lines, ample natural light via large windows and an open courtyard combine to create a welcoming and pleasant environment.
  • Small conference rooms located near student and resident clinics enhance learning by facilitating interaction among students and faculty.
  • The instrument management and sterilization systems comply with regulations established by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Facilitating Interprofessional Collaboration
The Center for Oral Health Care and Research is connected by enclosed walkways to the adjacent MARC. The site was chosen to facilitate collaboration among the schools’ clinicians, educators and researchers and enable patients to receive the full scope of dental and medical care in one place.  

The Center for Oral Health Care and Research was funded primarily by proceeds from the Permanent University Fund, a public endowment supporting eligible institutions of The University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System. The School of Dentistry and more than 215 individual donors also made significant contributions.

Published on October 14, 2015.

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