The Harvard School of Dental Medicine will reopen the Harvard Dental Service under its direction in February 2021, the school announced in a press release Wednesday.
Harvard University Health Services announced in September that its dental clinic would permanently close on Dec. 31 due to years-long financial strain. HDSM’s announcement marks a reversal of that step — the school is set to open the Harvard Dental Center–Cambridge in the HUHS clinic’s old location at 114 Mt. Auburn Street.
HSDM currently provides direct patient care at the Harvard Dental Center in the Longwood Medical Area. The new Cambridge practice will serve dental patients who used the former HUHS Dental Service and retain a “number” of the service’s staff, according to the press release.
HSDM Dean William V. Giannobile, who began leading the school in September, said the practice will also welcome new patients in Cambridge and the surrounding area.
“The HUHS Dental Service was well-regarded by its patients and served many members of the Harvard community including employees, students, and retirees for more than 50 years,” Giannobile said. “I am delighted that we will be able to offer oral healthcare to these patients and welcome new patients in Cambridge and the surrounding communities.”
“This is a unique opportunity for us to fill a critical gap in care at a time when continuity of oral healthcare and maintaining overall health is so vital,” he added.
HSDM plans to expand its Cambridge practice’s services beyond those offered by the former HUHS clinic to include specialties such as oral surgery, periodontics, orthodontics, and radiology. It will also accept additional insurance plans.
Giannobile said in the release that opening Harvard Dental Center–Cambridge is “very much at the heart” of the school’s clinical and educational mission. Dentists in the school’s Advanced Graduate Education programs will have opportunities for patient care and specialty training under the supervision of HDSM faculty members at the center.
“Our faculty, staff and residents have shown great dedication in providing care in our practices throughout the pandemic, and we look forward to this exciting new endeavor,” Giannobile said.
Kathryn W. Ferrante, a dentist at the HUHS Dental Service, said she learned the “very exciting” news of the reopening on Monday morning.
“It's very exciting, especially for our patients knowing that there will be continuity of care for them, that things will be still located at 114 Mt. Auburn Street, and that the Dental School will be working to make sure that we're able to still provide excellent quality care to the patients,” she said.
HUHS Director Giang T. Nguyen said in the press release that HUHS is “incredibly grateful” to its dental patients and are “thrilled” that they will continue to receive service.
Ferrante said her practice had received many phone calls from “distraught” patients since the Dental Service’s closure was announced. She added that she is relieved that they will be offered continuity of care at the HSDM practice.
“We've had patients calling on the phone and very distraught about the clinic closing because having a dentist is such a personal experience,” she said. “With 2020 and all of the upheaval, having some sort of continuity is a nice option for them.”
—Staff writer Alex M. Koller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Virginia L. Ma can be reached at email@example.com.