Dr. Peter Blough (DDS ’13) is currently employed by the Des Moines Health Center, a dental clinic that provides general and pediatric dental care in Des Moines. Through this experience, he’s found himself working at an unconventional location for his dentistry practice: a high school.
Because the fourth year of a UI dental student’s education helps the student understand the real world of dentistry, especially with patient treatment planning, Peter Blough’s own dental education prepared him for his career today.
“The fourth year in general gets students more focused on comprehensive care and planning the course of treatment moving forward,” he says. “Rather than focusing on a limited portion of a treatment plan, fourth year mimics the real world where as the provider, you are the one responsible for planning all of the care and tailoring that care to each patient’s own situation.”
Scavo High School is an alternative school for at-risk high school students. Besides the dental clinic, Scavo also houses a community food pantry and a daycare facility.
The Des Moines Health Center, Dr. Blough explains, is an extramural site for Iowa D4 students. “We work closely with United Way to help identify and provide care to underserved populations within our community. The Des Moines school district involved us in discussions about the feasibility of having a dental clinic within the district itself, and things really took off from there.”
Because the dental clinic is new, his work schedule at Scavo remains fluid. “January 6 was our first day,” he says, “and we are at the school clinic all day on Wednesdays for now. We have two operatories, one for restorative work and the other for cleanings with the hygienist. As the schedule fills up, we will be adding more days as needed. The tentative plan is to add a second day within 1-2 months and eventually grow into 5 days a week.”
Peter Blough finds it very rewarding to work with kids. Recognizing that there are significant barriers for at-risk children who need dental care (financial, logistical, or the availability of general dentists who are willing to treat kids), he finds it rewarding to be part of the Scavo dental clinic. “It really is great to be a part of this project that aims to overcome all of these barriers to care district-wide.”