KCU Joplin now one step closer to opening Dental School

The dental school is set to open in 2023, and will make Joplin one of the smallest communities with both a medical and dental school.

JOPLIN, Mo.–Four state residents may or may not be aware of the lack of dental services in the area. Kansas City University’s Joplin campus aims to change that.

“We did a study that showed that this four-state region really has a large need for dentists, that there’s a tremendous shortage of dentists. and there’s a number of dentists we’re getting to retirement age so that the shortage will only get worse unless we educate students to take the positions of these current dentists,” said Dr. Linda Niessen, Founding Dean of the College of Dental Medicine.

That’s where the new dental school at KCU will come into play.

“The college of dental medicine has developed a wonderful partnership with the dentists in the community and I think the dentists in the community are going to help us to recruit these young students, these new students to stay in the area.”

Now that they’ve received initial accreditation from the commission of dental accreditation, the school is one step closer to having an impact on both the dental and oral health of the four states.

“So now that we have this designation, we can actually recruit and enroll students and start students on this four-year journey to become a dentist.” 

And recruitment is starting in as little as two weeks.

“The good news is the American dental education association meeting is in two weeks, so we will have a booth at the American Dental education association meeting to recruit faculty as well as recruit students.”

This means those in the four states with dreams of being a dentist, will no longer need to move far away from home to do so.

“There’s one in Kansas City, there’s one in Kirksville and Saint Louis. and now we are the third dental school. We are here in Joplin. So students in the Joplin regional area can stay here and still become a dentist.”

With their study showing such a need for dentists in the four states, KCU’s future college of dental medicine has the potential to get dental services to not only Southwest Missouri, but all counties within a 100-mile radius.

“So we think we’re in a perfect position to recruit students from southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, in this four state region. And in fact, we did a study that showed that this four state region really has a large need for dentists.”

The dental school is set to open in 2023, and will make Joplin one of the smallest communities with both a medical and dental school.