Sometimes life gets hectic in the Dental Hygiene department, but that’s just because the department and its students are so engaged with the community.
Charmaine Stuteville, executive director – Dental Hygiene, explains some of what the students do.
“We provide a community service with the clinic here (on campus),” she said. “We have two full days a week in the fall and three and a half days in the spring where we see patients.”
That’s not all.
“Students provide treatment in internships at the Community Dental Clinic in the spring for three hours a week. We also participate in sealant clinics, children’s clinics, free extractions days, and free oral cancer screenings with the Reynolds Cancer Support House.”
In addition to appearing at and health and wellness fairs, the students and faculty participate in several community services events. The department also hosts continuing education programs on campus for the local dental community.
“We all just got back from the Arkansas State Dental Hygienists Association,” Stuteville said. “We had our first-ever national student delegate from this program representing District 6, which encompasses seven states, at the national meeting in Louisville, Ky., in June. Two faculty members joined her there.”
With the help of a grant to support and purchase supplies, February’s Extraction Day brought students, professionals, and patients from across the community together to bring relief to 150 patients.
In addition to UAFS dental hygiene, pre-dental, nursing, surgical technology and radiation technology students, faculty, and administrators, volunteers from the River Valley Dental Association, the dental community, medical students from Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, pre-dental students from the University of Central Arkansas, and dental assisting students from Vista College participated.
“It was a huge success!” Stuteville said. “We provided more than $80,000 in dental work that day.”
Community members who can take advantage of the services offered by the Dental Hygiene program also benefit from some state-of-the-art equipment.
At the end of the last school year, the Dental Clinic received six new lights and 15 new operator chairs for the clinic, thanks to support from the UAFS Foundation.
A new panoramic X-ray machine will not only allow imaging of a patient’s entire mouth in one shot, and it will make imaging the mouth possible for patients who cannot open their mouths or have bone or tissue abnormalities that make it hard to insert dental films into their mouths. The new machine also will have images available for viewing sooner. A new training manikin will improve evaluation of students work in using the Xray.
“UAFS not only provides the clinic for student learning. It also provides a great service to our community. We have several dentists in the area who refer their patients to our clinic,” Stuteville said.