ROANOKE, Va. – A new dental residency program to address children’s dental needs is coming to the Carilion Clinic at Tanglewood.
The program partnership between Carilion Clinic and Delta Dental of Virginia will allow the existing practice to train more dentists and see more pediatric patients.
Pediatric Dentist Dr. Karina Miller is one of the dentists currently on the Carilion Clinic team.
“I was a pediatric dentist in Brazil, and moved here and I had to redo all my accreditation, my residency, my fellow all over again because I do love what I do,” Miller said.
It’s more people like Miller that the residency program is hoping to recruit when it starts training residents. Right now, the clinic sees around 10,000 kids each year, but if you ask Miller the need is bigger.
“We have people traveling all over to just come see us because we are one of the only accredited programs, closest to these people,” Miller said.
Carilion Clinic’s Chief of Dentistry Lee Jones said the creation of the pediatric dental residency program will allow the clinic to see thousands more kids each year and grow year after year.
“We anticipate beginning the residency with two residents per year,” Jones said. “After the first year or two, our plan is to grow that to four residents per year, so the time it’s mature we’ll have a total of eight residents.”
President and CEO of Delta Dental of Virginia Frank Lucia said they don’t want to just bring more dentists to the area for their residencies, but instead look for a long-term solution to create more dental care for local children.
“The best way to do that is to train them in the medical school and the dental schools,” Lucia said. “Hopefully they will stay in our community and serve our patients long term.”
The program hopes to start training residents in the summer of 2024, a date Miller and many others are looking forward to.
“My assistants will tell you I say this every day,” Miller said. “‘Okay, it’s time to save lives a smile at a time.’”