Become a Patient

 

INTRODUCTION

Thank you for choosing the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine (SDM) to provide your dental care. The SDM makes every effort to provide the best treatment possible to its patients and to meet the profession’s standards of care.

A primary role of the School of Dental Medicine (SDM) is to educate dental health professionals. The resident/student depends on the patient’s commitment to complete necessary educational requirements. Because this is a teaching institution, the patient should be aware that treatment will take longer than in a private dental office. Be assured that the dental care patients receive meets the standard of care of the dental profession. Dental care is provided in accordance with the SDM Standards of Care, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations.

The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, throughout the school year, excluding University holidays and designated University breaks.

The SDM accepts patients with dental needs that are considered appropriate for teaching students contemporary techniques of dentistry regardless of race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin. However, the SDM reserves the right to refuse treatment, except to relieve pain or protect life, to any person for the following reasons, to include, but not limited to:

  • The patient (or his/her immediate family) has a history of not discharging financial obligations to the SDM.
  • The patient (or his/her immediate family) has a history of not abiding by the patient responsibilities.
  • The patient’s conduct is disruptive or compromises the rights of others.
  • The patient discriminates against student doctors, residents, dental hygienists, faculty, or staff on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital, veteran, or disability.
  • The patient does not keep his/her appointment(s).
  • The patient’s medical status prevents safe care given the available SDM resources.
  • The patient provides false information or falsifies documents.

The first step in becoming a patient in the clinical program is to arrange for an initial screening examination to determine the patient treatment needs. Appointments may be scheduled by phone at (412) 648-8616, or in person at the SDM’s scheduling desks located on the basement level, second, and third floors next to the elevators. The patient’s initial screening examination will be conducted by a faculty member and resident/student and will take approximately three hours. At this appointment, x-rays may be taken for which an additional fee will be charged. An exact fee cannot be quoted, as the number and type of x-rays will not be known until the time of the examination.

The following are important to note for the appointment day:

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the patient’s scheduled appointment to register.
  • Allow time for parking and traffic in the Oakland area.
  • Provide names and dosages of any medications the patient presently is taking.
  • Provide photo identification and insurance cards.

The SDM does not have facilities or staff for child supervision while the patient is having dental treatment.  Children are prohibited from accompanying the patient into the patient treatment areas.

 

Patients please note: Prior to being permitted to schedule a screening appointment at the SDM in our main clinics, you will be asked to confirm your ability to comply with the following important SDM policies:

  • Should you not present for your screening appointment, or cancel with less than 24 hours notice, or are late for your appointment, we reserve the right to not reschedule you for additional appointments.

  • If you have a special health care need that cannot be reasonably or safely accommodated in the main clinic, you will be referred to our Center for Patients with Special Needs for further evaluation. 

  • The manufacturer of our dental chairs recommends that we do not exceed their equipment’s recommended weight limit. In order to ensure your safety, should your weight exceed 350 lbs., the SDM cannot schedule you for an appointment in our main clinics, but you will be offered contact information for our Center for Patients with Special Needs, which may be able to accommodate you.

You will be asked if you have any reason why you cannot comply with these three guidelines.

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PATIENT BILL OF RIGHTS

Patients are provided a statement outlining the rights and responsibilities of a patient of the SDM. Patients are encouraged to contact the Quality Care Manager (412) 648-1027 if the School of Dental Medicine has not honored its pledge or if the patient’s rights were not honored.

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CONSENT FORMS
It is the policy of the School of Dental Medicine and proper professional practice not to proceed with any treatment until the rationale, alternatives, and expected outcome, including any material risks of the proposed treatment, are fully explained and understood by the patient. Because this information is essential, the patient (parent/guardian) will be asked to sign a consent form. If the child or adolescent is under the age of 18, a parent/guardian must accompany him or her. Children or adolescents will not be examined or treated unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. The parent or guardian must remain in the clinic waiting room at all times while the child/ adolescent is being treated.

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RECORDS RELEASE OR X-RAY REQUEST
If you require that your dental records be released to another provider or need copies of your X-rays for another provider, please call the School of Dental Medicine Records Request phone line at: 412-648-8389.

You will be asked to provide the following information:

Patient's name

Patient's current phone number

Patient's current address

Patient's birthdate

Please be aware that there is a cost associated with your records request. An invoice will be mailed to the requesting patient. This process may take up to 30 days from the requesting date.

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CONTINUITY OF CARE

In order to maintain the schedules necessary for our educational mission, and to pay proper attention to the needs of all of our patients, you will be contacted by the School of Dental Medicine’s (SDM) Quality Care Manager regarding your future status as a patient in the event your actions have led to the accumulation of 3 (three) cancellations* with less than 24 hours notice and/or appointments for which you do not show within your current treatment plan.

*In the event your cancellation/“no show” history does not permit an acceptable level of continuance of care as outlined above, the SDM reserves the right to inactivate your care and dismiss you as a patient from the SDM.

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PATIENT ASSIGNMENT
After the screening examination has been completed and the School of Dental Medicine accepts the patient, the patient will be assigned to a student doctor from the predoctoral program or to a specialty resident, depending on the patient’s treatment needs. To meet the educational needs of our students/residents, and depending on the complexity of the patient's treatment needs, this assignment may be changed at any given time. A patient can expect an average waiting period of one to two weeks to be assigned. Patients with the most flexible availability will be the easiest to assign to student doctors. If a patient’s availability is limited, he/she should inform the faculty member at the time of the initial examination.

Registered patients who wish to inquire about their assignment status or other related questions should call (412) 648-8616. Pediatric patients (all children and adolescents less than 18 years of age) should call the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at (412) 648-8930. Patients with special needs should call the Center for Patients with Special Needs at (412) 648-3039.

The patient’s resident/student will schedule an appointment under supervision of a faculty member. The patient’s examination will be completed using in-depth information gathering, diagnostic techniques, and specialty departmental consultations, if needed. Treatment options and fee estimates will be discussed. After the patient has decided on treatment options, a financial counselor will explain existing payment plans.

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COMPREHENSIVE CARE
The School of Dental Medicine’s philosophy of comprehensive care is recommended for most patients. At least one alternative to the ideal treatment plan (if applicable) will be suggested along with its benefits, risks, and prognosis. Patients will not have the option to select only limited portions of the recommended treatment plan.

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EMERGENCY TREATMENT (Bleeding, Pain, Swelling, or Infection)
Emergency treatment is limited to making the patient comfortable, and only the emergency condition will be addressed during the emergency appointment.

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PATIENTS 18 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER

  • Current patients of the School of Dental Medicine must first contact their resident/student if they have a dental emergency. If unable to contact the resident/student, or if the patient has not been seen for their first appointment, they may come to the emergency clinic.
  • Emergency Clinic registration begins at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • As space is limited, there is no guarantee that all patients will be treated for emergency care each day. Based on the nature of the emergency, patients may be asked to return to the Emergency Clinic another time.
  • During select days in the summer, our adolescent clinic is offering
    healthy adolescents and youth between the ages of 10-23 years of age the opportunity to receive free a dental examination, cleaning, and fluoride treatment at the SDM. Click here for details.

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PATIENTS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 YEARS

  • Pediatric (patients under the age of 18 years) dental emergencies are seen only after an appointment has been made. Please call (412) 648-8616 to make an emergency appointment. Emergency pediatric dental appointments are at 10 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. Walk-in (unscheduled) emergency appointments are not available for patients under the age of 18.
  • If a current pediatric dental patient at the SDM is in need of  emergency care, the patient should contact the patient’s resident/student first.
  • During select days in the summer, our adolescent clinic is offering
    healthy adolescents and youth between the ages of 10-23 years of age the opportunity to receive free a dental examination, cleaning, and fluoride treatment at the SDM. Click here for details.

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INTERPRETATION SERVICES

The School of Dental Medicine will make reasonable accommodations for interpretation services for patients who are non-English speaking or are otherwise hearing or communication impaired. Patients are advised that the SDM is not wiling to incur costs related to the use of an interpretation service should the patient fail to cancel within less than 24 hours notice or fail to show for his/her appointment(s). In these instances, the patient will be expected to assume payment for the services that will be billed to the SDM related to all missed appointment(s).

 

Please note: The SDM will not provide any type of care that is not in the best interest of the patient.

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