Health professionals can expand primary care skills through UofL dentistry continuing education courses

    Dentistry faculty exam
    UofL School of Dentistry faculty member performs an oral health screening on a child.
    Dentistry faculty exam
    UofL School of Dentistry faculty member performs an oral health screening on a child.

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As health care providers seek to better meet the needs of their patients, interdisciplinary practice has become increasingly crucial.

    This summer, health professionals from several disciplines can expand their skillset with new courses offered through the University of Louisville School of Dentistry’s Office of Continuing Education.

    The first course, “Local Anesthesia for Advanced Nursing: Acute Dental Pain Management in a Primary Care Setting,” set for June 18 from 8a.m. – 3:30p.m., will teach nurses how to address acute dental pain when patients can’t immediately visit a dentist. The course, which costs $150, will focus on how to administer block and infiltration oral anesthesia.

    “If a patient shows up in a primary care office with tooth pain late on a Friday afternoon or in a hospital emergency room over the weekend, a trained health professional could inject a long-acting local anesthetic to help manage the pain until the patient could get to a dentist the following week,” said Dedra Hayden, M.S.N., A.P.R.N.-B.C., School of Nursing assistant professor.

    The School of Dentistry also will offer the course, “Integrating Oral Health into the Primary Care Setting Through Allowable Reimbursement Techniques” on July 9 from 8a.m. – 12:30p.m. The course, geared toward physicians, physicians’ assistants, registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses and dental hygienists, informs these health care providers about their allowed role in conducting state required oral health screenings for Kentucky children entering Kindergarten, and understand that it is a billable service. The screening involves looking into a child’s mouth for signs of decay and reporting it on a required form.

    The course will focus on optimizing oral health for evidence-based, patient-centered care and will include recent federal recommendations on prevention of tooth decay in children ages 5 and younger in the primary care setting. The class is $75 through advance online registration and $110 for on-site registration.

    Both continuing education courses are part of the interdisciplinary collaboration between the UofL schools of dentistry and nursing, established through a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration to integrate nursing and dental students in practice.

    Since 2013, the schools’ collaboration has focused on the connection between oral and systemic health.

    “Over the past several decades, there has been a tremendous amount of research directed at discovering the links between oral health and overall body health,” Hayden said. “The primary care provider can perform an oral exam and identify lesions in the mouth to indicate a systemic disease and the dental provider can identify when to consult primary care, therefore developing a reciprocal referral process.”

    UofL nursing and dental students have engaged in joint seminars, standardized patient learning and clinical experiences to better identify and manage systemic diseases sometimes linked to oral health, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    “Our interprofessional collaboration has focused on the continued improvement of oral health across the lifespan and has contributed to the development of cutting edge providers in our community,” said Daniel Fadel, D.M.D., director of the School of Dentistry Office of Continuing Education.

    For more information on the courses and to register, click here.


    Julie Heflin
    Julie oversees digital content for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She began her UofL career on the Health Sciences Center campus in 2007. Prior to this, Julie was a journalist with WFPL (Louisville Public Media), and occasionally filed reports for National Public Radio.