Ohio State Dental Journal

Pediatric Dentistry Connects with Nationwide Children's Hospital to Provide Care

When you think of pediatric dentistry, what age do you envision? For Janice Townsend, DDS, ’07 MS, chair of the Division of Pediatric Dentistry and associate professor in the College of Dentistry, patient interactions start with babies and their parents and continue to age eighteen. 

“We want to teach parents how to take care of babies’ teeth, including knowing which foods to avoid,” she said. “We need to focus on preventive care rather than waiting to fix problems. We want to help our patients stay healthy throughout life. We are general dentists for special people.”

Dr. Townsend serves as Chief of Dentistry at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in addition to her role in the College of Dentistry. “The institutions cooperate well,” she said. “We have a real synergy, which enables us to take advantage of excellent resources at both institutions.”

“The ongoing sharing of knowledge between Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s is vital when it comes to ensuring our community is healthy in all ways,” said Oluyinka Olutoye, MD, PhD, surgeon-in-chief at Nationwide Children’s. “Strong community collaboration is an integral part of striving for best outcomes in each and every patient.”

Pediatric dentistry includes preventive procedures such as cleaning and fluoride treatments, as well as restoration of cavities when necessary, including fillings, crowns and extractions. For Dr. Townsend, successful pediatric dentistry means children reach adulthood with no fillings. 

The Division of Pediatric Dentistry is responsible for training dental hygiene students and dental students. The division also collaborates with Nationwide Children’s to support the pediatric dentistry residency program. Through partnerships on a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the residents are partnering with Care Connection School Health Services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. They provide care at Columbus’ nearby Reynoldsburg City Schools, offering dental treatment in an elementary school setting. “It’s a great environment,” said Dr. Townsend. “Children can receive fillings and extractions utilizing portable equipment. The school system has been supportive and flexible.” 

Faculty in the division mentor residents in the clinics by supervising and guiding their work, and by providing research opportunities. In addition to research, “residents spend the bulk of their time with patient care at Nationwide Children’s, at the dental school taking classes, and teaching dental students,” Dr. Townsend said. “It’s a very demanding residency.” 

“The ongoing sharing of knowledge between Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s is vital when it comes to ensuring our community is healthy in all ways.” - Oluyinka Olutoye, MD, PhD