Residents in Klamath County have a new option when it comes to dental care. The Dental Hygiene Clinic at Oregon Institute of Technology, “Oregon Tech,” previously was only able to provide preventive services, such as cleanings, radiographs, screenings and fluoride. Now with the addition of a full time dentist, Dr. Andrew Bernhard, the Oregon Tech Dental Clinic provides a full range of dental services to Klamath Falls and the surrounding communities.
The Academic Program
Aside from a wide range of low-cost dental hygiene services that the school is known for, the clinic offers internship opportunities for Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene students who can now work alongside the dentist for a more “real-world” learning experience before graduation.
“It’s very important to the program that we have a dentist who students are able to connect with and learn from,” shared department chair, Paula Russell. “When our students enter the field as dental hygienists, they will be familiar with how to best serve the practice they join. This can benefit future employers by less new employee training required.” Russell says an instructor supervises each student, and patients may be referred to Dr. Bernhard, or back to their home dentist for further care as needed. Seeing patients is a requirement for graduation and for the students to prepare for their board exams. “Students have worked on each other for six months and must pass many evaluations before they work on patients,” said Russell. “They are experienced with how to perform instrumentation and are graded on every step of the clinic visit.”
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 58 Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene students provided discounted services to over 5,200 patients, most of which are uninsured, according to Russell. “Receiving dental hygiene care in our clinic is unique due to the educational nature of the program; appointments with students are generally three hours. However, in return for their time, patients receive the highest quality of preventive care at a fraction of the cost they would pay in a private dental practice,” Russell added.
The Oregon Tech Dental Clinic
Dr. Bernhard joined the Oregon Tech Dental Clinic in November from Aspen Dental where he spent the last two years. Before that, he worked for three years at Klamath Tribal Health and Family Services. He is a 2014 graduate of Creighton University School of Dentistry.
“We are so happy that Dr. Bernhard has joined our clinic, enabling us to expand our services and offering our students this advanced learning environment,” stated Russell. “Current and new patients think highly of Dr. Bernhard. He is kind, straightforward, practical, and his treatment plans are always in the best interest of the patient. There are no hard sells or gimmicks. He is very down to earth, our clients value and respect his opinion; and the quality of his work is fantastic.”
With the hire of Dr. Bernhard, clients at the Oregon Tech Dental Clinic can access services that reach far beyond just preventive treatments. Dr. Bernhard offers fillings, restorations of all types, in-house extractions, crown and bridge services, root canal therapy, dentures, implant maintenance and more. The Clinic can now provide the same services that other general dentist offices provide, with reduced wait times and patients seen same-day or within 1-2 days.
Some of the attributes of the Oregon Tech Dental Clinic are:
- Dental exams are always free.
- The clinic can bill most dental insurances and are currently participating providers for:
- Delta Dental through MODA- Premiere provider
- Oregon Health Plan- Cascade Health Alliance
- Sliding scales are available for uninsured patients.
- Generous discounts for veterans and active service members, and Oregon Tech students.
- Convenient hours: The clinic is open Monday through Friday with a goal to offer some evening hours.
- Prompt scheduling of appointments: Currently the clinic offers appointments within the same week and emergency walk-in appointments are accepted.
For more information about the Oregon Tech Dental Clinic, visit https://dentalclinic.oit.edu/klamath or call 541-885-1330 to make an appointment.