Ribbon cutting at the new Shelbyville dental practice
Ribbon cutting at the new Shelbyville dental practice

A new clinical site in Shelbyville, Kentucky, makes it possible for the UofL School of Dentistry to further fulfill its mission of improving the oral health of Kentuckians. The dental practice, located in a business office park just south of U.S. 60 East/Midland Trail, provides close-to-home access for underserved populations in the area.    

The new site also gives dental students a community site near Louisville to learn alongside a full-time licensed dentist. School of Dentistry Interim Dean Margaret Hill says it is important for these future health care providers to grow their skills in a variety of settings outside the school.   

“As our students travel to other parts of Kentucky, they are maturing into culturally competent dental practitioners,” Hill said. “We build service into the educational experience, not just on a volunteer level but as a part of the curriculum,” Hill said.   

In recent years, the school opened a clinical rotation site in Paducah through a collaboration with West Kentucky Community and Technical College. UofL also sends students to Beverly, Kentucky, located in the eastern part of the state, to learn with a dentist at the Red Bird Dental Clinic.    

Pallavi Patil consults with UofL dental students.
Pallavi Patil consults with UofL dental students.

Pallavi Patil is an alumna of the School of Dentistry and the full-time dentist at UofL’s Shelbyville dental office. Patil says she looks forward to mentoring students and building relationships with patients.    

“I think it’s important to establish a good rapport and trust between doctor and patient. This helps patients feel comfortable and motivated throughout their comprehensive dental care,” she said.    

The new dental practice offers affordable dental care, and financial assistance may be available to those in need, thanks to the dental school’s Compassionate Care fund. This fund has helped numerous patients of the school pay for treatment. Donors to Compassionate Care include individuals and several organizations, including the Delta Dental of Kentucky Foundation. The foundation also has committed to help pay initial start-up costs at the Shelbyville site, making dental care even more economical for people in the region.    

The dental practice located at 77 Mack Walters Road is in close proximity to UofL Health – Shelbyville Hospital and other health care providers.   

Hill says in addition to serving new patients, the practice hopes to attract those who currently or previously traveled to the School of Dentistry for care.    

“For some of these folks, it’s very difficult to make a trip to downtown Louisville – so this will save them time and money,” she said. “It’s all about improving access to care.”  

View the Flickr photo gallery from the ribbon cutting event. 

Paige Moore with the School of Dentistry contributed to this article.