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Dental Hygiene Students Speak Out on Dos and Don’ts of Dental Health Care

Dental hygiene student Brittany Grace (far right) makes a presentation on smokeless tobacco facts and consequences last week on campus. Also pictured are from left: Kendra Schaal, Chelsea Laird, Kelsey Butler and instructor Pam Karns. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

Dental hygiene student Brittany Grace (far right) makes a presentation on smokeless tobacco facts and consequences last week on campus. Also pictured are from left: Kendra Schaal, Chelsea Laird, Kelsey Butler and instructor Pam Karns. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – John A. Logan College dental hygiene students did their part to help educate their fellow students and college employees last week with various presentations on dental health as part of a fall service project.

The soon-to-be experts in bicuspids and molars provided brochures and PowerPoint presentations on mouthguards; smokeless tobacco; halitosis; periodontal disease; oral cancer and diabetes and the oral cavity.

Sharon Jenkins, who serves as instructor for both the dental assistant and dental hygiene programs at JALC, said last week’s presentations were a means in which to communicate effective ways to prevent cavities and systemic diseases.

“Hopefully, people listened and walked away more focused on dental care,” Jenkins said. “I know our students really enjoyed doing the presentations. They were able to share their knowledge and skill.”

Dental hygiene student Michael Grace makes a presentation on diabetes and the oral cavity last week on campus. Also pictured are team members Kenzie Knight and Jessie Davis. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

Dental hygiene student Michael Grace makes a presentation on diabetes and the oral cavity last week on campus. Also pictured are team members Kenzie Knight and Jessie Davis. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

Jenkins said the college offers a one-year training program for students interested in achieving certification as a dental assistant. The vast majority of those students, upon completion of that one-year training, enroll in JALC’s dental hygiene program, which runs one-and-a-half years or three semesters.

“That added education can lead to full-time positions at a dental office, research at clinics, or teaching. In short, it opens up more doors for future employment.”

JALC will graduate 17 dental hygiene students in December. As many as 26 students are presently enrolled in the dental assistants’ program.

Faith Fann of Royalton is graduating in December with certification in dental hygiene. She and fellow student, Malorie James, made a presentation on mouthguards, which can be used to help protect one’s teeth when participating in sporting activities, for example.

“The idea is to avoid chips and fractures. Call it preventative dentistry,” Fann said.

Dental hygiene student Misti McClain makes a presentation on halitosis with the assistance of her team member, Kassidy Sisk. Pictured with them are JALC instructors, Joanna Christopher and Kathi Kibler. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

Dental hygiene student Misti McClain makes a presentation on halitosis with the assistance of her team member, Kassidy Sisk. Pictured with them are JALC instructors, Joanna Christopher and Kathi Kibler. (Logan Media Services photo by John Homan)

Of course, athletes are not the only ones in need of mouthguards. Fann said they are also handy for people who grind and clinch their teeth at night; those who bite their tongue; and those who have TMJ problems.

Fann added that last week’s project was one of several performed by students. There have also been service-training events at SIU for adults in need of free dental care; training sessions at nursing homes for nurses; and an annual Project Smile kids’ day at the college.

Misti McClain of Paducah is also finishing her training as a hygienist. She said she chose Logan because she liked the ratio of students to instructor.

“I feel I learn better in a smaller setting and I have received more hands-on attention here at Logan,” McClain said.

McClain and her classmate, Kassidy Sisk, made a presentation on halitosis, which is chronic bad breath.

“We wanted to help bring awareness of the issue today, and hopefully, we did just that,” she said. “So many people who stopped by to see our presentation know a little about this or that, but few know the right things to do to improve the problem. Not only has this project been a good teaching tool for us, but we would hope more people will benefit from what they learned from us.”