Students in the Dental Hygiene program have helped their community both in and out of their classrooms and labs by providing dental services in Klamath County through the Community Dental Health course
Dental hygiene students at Oregon Institute of Technology, “Oregon Tech,” recently completed a yearlong course designed to help their community while also gaining real-world experience.
Students in the Dental Hygiene program have helped their community both in and out of their classrooms and labs by providing over $18,000 in dental services in Klamath County through the Community Dental Health course, which all sophomores and juniors take for 4 terms. This year students also held special clinics to reach out to the community, including providing free care for more than 60 veterans and active service members, with a total value of more than $19,000.
“It is important for our students’ education and training that they go outside the classroom and into the community. Through these experiences they meet people and identify the needs of populations that do not have full access to preventive care, bringing those populations into our clinic for care when possible,” said instructor of Community Health Darlene Swigart. “We want every citizen in our community to establish care with a local dental practice. However, when they cannot, we believe our students have a unique opportunity to provide preventive care.”
Swigart worked with Klamath Basin Sunrise Rotary and Brenna Chavarin, president of Konnect Dental Kare, to obtain donations and sponsorships that allowed the dental hygiene students to provide care. Oral hygiene products and educational materials for the projects were supplied by donations from Colgate, Oregon Community Foundation and Becky Hoppe of Klamath Falls.
“The Community Dental Health course is an important part of our students’ education at Oregon Tech,” Swigart said. “They are responsible for identifying organizations and groups within the community to serve each year, arranging services and creating a dental health education program to teach patients about best practices they can do at home.”
The hygienists-in-training in the Community Health course this year completed the following clinics, providing each patient with complete preventive oral health care along with brushing and flossing instructions and a dental cleaning:
- Mills Elementary after-school program (services completed in the Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene Clinic included: dental cleanings, radiographs and fluoride applications)
- Donation of $2,000 received from Klamath Basin Sunrise Rotary to be used to provide services to Klamath Falls elementary students.
- Value of services: $2,922.
- Mills Elementary on-site sealants and fluoride application
- Partnership with Brenna Chavarin of Konnect Dental Kare who provided sealant and fluoride supplies.
- Value of services: $6,586.
- Transition’s City and County students (services completed in the Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene Clinic included: dental cleanings, radiographs and fluoride applications)
- Donation of $2,000 received from Oregon Tech Resource Budget Grant to provide dental care to developmentally disabled students.
- Value of services: $4,288.
- YMCA and Shasta Preschools (fluoride applications and preventative services)
- Value of services: $1,680.
- Bonanza rural moms and children group (fluoride applications and preventative services)
- Ponderosa Middle School (fluoride applications)
- Partnership with Brenna Chavarin of Konnect Dental Kare provided supplies used for fluoride applications.
- Value of services: $2,457.
Donations received each year determine services that Oregon Tech students are able to provide and are critical to community clinic operations. Swigart said, “The amount of Klamath county and city students we were able to see this year was made possible by these community donations. We hope each year to be able to expand our reach with continued donations from these generous organizations.”
The Dental Hygiene Clinic at Oregon Tech provides care to community members for reduced fees. Students continue to see patients of all ages on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. To learn more about the clinic visit www.oitdentalhygieneclinic.com. For information regarding donations to the Community Dental Health projects please contact Community Health organizer, Darlene Swigart at Darlene.firstname.lastname@example.org.