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Community Outreach

Improving Community Oral Health

Creighton dental students make a real difference in the lives of others. Our faculty, staff and students work together to provide oral and dental healthcare and education in the Omaha area.

By giving of their time and talents, our students carry out the School of Dentistry mission and vision. Learn more about our current outreach programs and explore ways in which our students serve the local community.

Giving back to the Omaha area community is a huge part of the School of Dentistry mission. Creighton students develop and present appropriate oral health education learning activities for at-risk populations in the community. Students apply the principles of health education communication and learn the importance of serving as an oral health resource to community organizations in need. 

Creighton University School of Dentistry partners with the following community locations to provide oral health education:

  • Bethlehem House - The residential program is designed to challenge and empower women to overcome hardships to grow. The Bethlehem house focuses on women who are pregnant and provides after-care services to help transition women on their own.
  • Head Start is a federal program that provides comprehensive early childhood education and services for low-income children and their families.
  • Lutheran Family Services - Karen and Burmese population - The Lutheran Family Services (LFS) mission is to express God’s love for all people by providing quality human care services that build and strengthen individual, family and community life. Our vision is safety, hope and well-being for all people.
  • Mosaic - Mosaic is a faith-based organization serving people with intellectual disabilities. We believe that every individual is a person of worth. Together Mosaic staff members, volunteers and the people we support work as partners.
  • Nelson Mandela Elementary School - Nelson Mandela Elementary is committed to maximizing the educational success of all students and bridging learning and achievement gaps.
  • Sacred Heart Elementary School -  Located in the heart of Omaha, Sacred Heart Elementary School is a K-8 school that is dedicated to educating urban youth.
  • Siena Francis - Nebraska’s largest shelter, providing food, emergency shelter & clothing, along with outreach/case management to homeless families and individuals from Omaha and surrounding communities. 
  • The Teen Literacy Center - The Teen Literacy Center (TLC) is a unique program designed to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of English Language Learners who are 15 to 21 years of age.
  • Douglas County Health Center - Douglas County Health Center has proudly served the Omaha area for over 125 years and continues to be a leader in healthcare in the community. The team of healthcare professionals provides excellent Long-Term Care with different on-site services and amenities
  • Notre Dame Housing - NDH provides housing and supportive services to low-to-moderate income seniors through a unique combination of services that change the way we think about housing, health, eradicating poverty and bringing about self-sufficiency, changing the landscape of impoverished communities, one senior at a time
Professional giving dental instruction to young person

This 9-week program is targeted for high school students who have expressed an interest in dentistry. Each session focuses on a different aspect of dentistry with specialist presentations and hands-on projects. Over 400 students learn more about the profession from us each year.

For more information, contact Joseph Franco, DDS, assistant professor of diagnostic sciences, at

Geriatric and special care dentistry offers three community-based dental education opportunities for dental students. Community training opportunities include an Adult Day Care Center, Independent Living Center and Skilled Nursing Facility. During these community training experiences students learn about the variety of geriatric services available within the community and they work directly with residents. Students also work as interprofessional team members to provide preventive and restorative care to this fast growing and vulnerable population. 

  • Heart Ministry Center
    Dental students and faculty provide dental screenings, examinations, preventive care, oral health education, and basic restorative treatment for seniors age 55 and older. To  optimize overall patient health, dental students also collaborate with other health professionals at the Heart Ministries Porto Medical Clinic.  
  • Mosaic  
    Dental students provide hands-on oral hygiene education for caregivers and allied health care providers at this faith-based organization. This adult day care center serves people with intellectual disabilities. Education of the caregiver, as well as the patient, is an important part of the prevention and disease management phase of dental care.  
  • Notre Dame Housing 
    Creighton University takes great pride in reaching out to community partners and increasing access to care for seniors who lack a dental home. Creighton students and faculty take portable dental equipment to the senior independent living facility to provide oral hygiene and disease prevention services. Education and case management for the residents are also provided. 

Healthy Smiles is a school-based prevention program that provides dental sealants, fluoride varnish and classroom education to children in approximately 11 low-income elementary schools in Omaha Public Schools. Creighton and Iowa Western Community College Students provide services to approximately 2,000 children yearly. Learn more about the impact and outcomes of the Healthy Smiles Program.

Creighton​ Care Coordination is available for families whose children are identified as having unmet dental needs. A dental care coordinator at Creighton School of Dentistry assists parents in reducing barriers to care such as transportation and language needs to connect them with a dental home.

Healthy smiles locations in Omaha

Dentist working on patient's teeth

ILAC began in the early 1970s as an immersion experience for Jesuits. Today, the ILAC dental program sends six teams of dental students and other health profession students to the Dominican Republic annually. Our teams provide sealants, extractions, fillings, cleanings, and other normal dental services to more than 1,200 patients each year.

Several dentists with mother examining child

There are over 4.5 million Native Americans in the United States, but fewer than 150 Native American dentists to serve this population. Creighton has a particular focus on recruiting Native American students. The first American Indian dentist, George Blue Spruce, DDS, MPH, graduated from Creighton University School of Dentistry in 1956.

In partnership with Rosebud Indian Reservation home to St. Francis Mission in St. Francis, South Dakota, Creighton dental students travel to their dental clinic to provide much-needed care to the people of Rosebud, where access is limited.

The Senior Service-Learning Program is offered in partnership with Albion Dental Clinic, Charles Drew Health Center, Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska, Cope Family Dentistry, Dental Connections, Douglas County Health Center, Good Neighbor Community Health Center, Heartland Health Center, Heart Ministry Center, KC Care Health Center, Kersenbrock Dental Care, Methodist Hospital – Estabrook Cancer Center, Midtown Health Center, One World Community Health Center, Valentine Dental Clinic, Salina Dental Arts, Salina Family Healthcare Center, Siouxland Community Health Center, St. Francis Mission Dental Clinic and Winnebago Dental Clinic.

The local public health dental clinics are located throughout Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas and Missouri.

Each senior dental student spends two weeks providing dental care at a local public health dental clinic. Basic preventive, restorative, diagnostic and surgical care provided by the students increases the capacity of the dental safety net.

Technicians gathering patient information and providing care

In partnership with the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program, our faculty, staff and students provide non-invasive oral health screenings, dental hygiene education and nutritional counseling to scores of Nebraska’s Special Olympics athletes.

Dentist providing care to patient

Twice a month, patients pre-screened at OneWorld Community Health Center and the Magis Clinic can receive treatment on Thursday evenings in the Adult Dental Clinic. Volunteer students and faculty make this service possible.

Caring For the Whole Person

“The ability to provide care to those in need who could not otherwise afford the care is the greatest sense of reward to me as a healthcare provider and a human being.” — Abdulwahab Khodadah DDS’19

Abdulwahab Khodadah