State-of-the-art dental clinic opens in MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion

August 12, 2022
Dean Sarandeep Huja stands with Ann Edwards, the widow of the James B. Edwards College of Medicine's namesake.
Dr. Sarandeep Huja, dean of the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine, walks Edwards' widow, Ann, to a podium to speak at a ceremony celebrating the opening of a dental clinic in West Ashley. Photos by Sarah Pack

A state-of-the-art dental and oral health center has become the 22nd specialty in the MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion, a sign of the site’s stunning evolution. The pavilion opened in the former Citadel Mall in late December 2019, a month before the first diagnosed case of COVID in the U.S. – not exactly ideal timing. 

But the pavilion has thrived despite that, seeing 64,000 patients last year alone. The addition of the dental clinic brings the expertise of the Medical University of South Carolina’s James. B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine to the most populous part of Charleston. 

“This is such an example of farsightedness,” James B. Edwards’ widow, Ann, said at the ribbon cutting.

Charleston’s mayor, John Tecklenburg, agreed. “This is where the customer base is. And although I certainly love and encourage folks to come downtown and enjoy all the things we have there, the concept of bringing our services to the citizens of West Ashley- that’s what this overall center is all about,” he said. “I think you'll be very successful.”

The clinic has four treatment rooms, on-site imaging and a full-time dentist on site, with MUSC faculty members who specialize in dental medicine coming to see patients as well. The dean of the dental school, Sarandeep Huja, DDS, Ph.D., said the clinic will focus on patients’ needs and the needs of the collaborative services dictated by existing MUSC Health patients. 

Dr. David Cole, wearing a suit, stands at a podium beside a sign touting dental care. 
MUSC President Dr. David Cole speaks before the ribbon cutting at the new dental clinic.

“In addition to outstanding dental care, eventually we'll have all specialties and we'll have all levels of care  – faculty, residents, our students, and it's really important for our students to experiences akin to what they would in private practice.”

Paul Davis, DMD and a member of the MUSC Board of Trustees, spoke of the foresight that led to the clinic’s creation. “Today's ceremony represents a milestone that began with a vision from Dr. Huja and his team, a vision that has been shared and supported by Dr. Cole and Dr. Cawley and MUSC Health,” he said, referring to MUSC President David Cole, M.D., and MUSC Health CEO Patrick Cawley, M.D. 

“This vision highlights the importance of oral health as it relates to overall health and wellbeing,” Davis said.

Cole focused on the efforts that helped make that vision a reality. “It's an honor to be able to lead so many talented and dedicated people that are working hard to make a difference in people's lives. There's just one example, you know, so those are words from the heart. Thank you for what you do.”

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg looks up as he and other leaders cut a ribbon to mark the opening of a dental clinic in West Ashley. 
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, third from left, joins MUSC leaders and supporters in cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the new dental clinic in West Ashley.

Board chairman James Lemon, DMD, was also on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony, as were Gene Hong, M.D., chief physician executive for MUSC Health and Lisa Saladin, PT, Ph.D., executive vice president of Academic Affairs and provost.

Huja said that while the West Ashley dental clinic is the first one not on MUSC’s downtown campus, and this growth will continue. And it will serve as a symbol of what’s possible for patients. “Why is this clinic important? The connection between systemic and oral health is epitomized in this integrated model of care, which MUSC will offer here at West Ashley Medical Pavilion.”

Ann Edwards said the clinic brings a much-needed option of dental expertise backed by an academic medical center to people who live in West Ashley. “It’s just wonderful that you have come to them. And that is so important. Thank you, each and every one who made it possible.”

To make an appointment at the MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion’s dental clinic, call 843-876-9267.