Patient Care

Justin McHugh

When Justin McHugh was growing up, he knew one thing: he was going to be a Gopher someday.

An athletic kid who excelled in hockey, baseball, and football, he had his eyes set on the University of Minnesota. “I grew up loving the maroon and gold,” he said. Combined with his desire to pursue athletics, the ability to explore “just about anything anyone would want” in academics, and advice from his dad to embrace the University’s history and local connections, it was an easy choice to make.

A Message from the Dean

This reflection is challenging to write, as it is difficult to truly capture and appreciate the progress, the successes, and the perseverance while looking back on the lost.

Teresa Fong, DDS

On February 1, 1950, then President Harry S. Truman proclaimed February 6 as National Children’s Dental Health Day. He declared that “the health of our children is of supreme importance to the future of the nation,” referencing the United States Congress’s joint resolution encouraging him to:

Give Kids a Smile

A winter tradition at the School of Dentistry, Give Kids a Smile brings student and faculty volunteers together to provide free oral health care to children in need throughout the community. The February event not only gives children much-needed treatment, but also connects families to a home for regular oral health care.

But, like so many other things, the pandemic forced a change of plans. Thankfully, however, the Give Kids a Smile organizers have been planning for this possibility since last fall.

Give Kids a Smile

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Dentistry will not host an in-person event for Give Kids a Smile on February 6, 2021. Give Kids a Smile is a student-led, volunteer event connecting underserved children and families with oral health care.  While disappointing, the Give Kids a Smile Committee will keep its amazing network of supporters up-to-date on the alternate ways Give Kids a Smile will positively impact our community and how you can stay involved.

What will the 2021 edition of Give Kids a Smile look like?

Drs. Mike Hanson (left) and Jodi Fonkert

Willmar Dentists Reflect on Suspending and Re-opening Practice

Like every other dental office across Minnesota, Hanson & Fonkert Dental in Willmar, Minnesota, abruptly closed March 17, 2020 in response to the Governor’s Executive Order suspending all non-emergency oral health care to slow the spread of COVID-19. At the time, Dr. Jodi Fonkert '93 and her husband Dr. Mike Hanson '92 had no idea if the closure would last two weeks, two months or two years.

All University of Minnesota Dental Clinics reopened Monday, July 6, with enhanced measures in place to limit exposure and potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Our staff will contact patients to reschedule appointments that were postponed due to the pandemic.

Emergency care services are available during this time. If you believe you have a dental emergency, please call 612-625-2495.

There will be new check-in and appointment procedures in place for your appointment. These include:

Patient check-in now includes:

Elmi Ibrahim

For young Elmi Ibrahim, the sprawling refugee camp in the Kenyan desert where he spent eight years of his childhood was his entire world. After his father was killed in the civil war in their home country of Somalia, his mother fled to Kenya with Ibrahim and his four siblings.

Rachel Uppgaard, DDS

Rachel Uppgaard, DDS, is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and teaching faculty at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. When the Governor order the suspension of all dental procedures across Minnesota except emergencies, she volunteered to be part of a team of faculty and residents handling dental emergencies for a growing number of patients. We recently talked with Dr. Uppgaard about how she is addressing these unique challenges.

Keith A. Mays, DDS, MS, PhD

Keith A. Mays, PhD, DDS, MS, was appointed interim dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, effective May 15, for an expected two-year term.

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