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College Opens Free Dental Hygiene Clinic To Serve The Public

Dental exams, X-rays, gum treatments, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments to be provided at no charge

St. Louis, MO (Vocus) November 17, 2009 -- As unemployment climbs and families and individuals are left without health care coverage, receiving free dental hygiene care will come as a welcome relief to many in the St. Louis area. On November 23, Missouri College is opening a new dental hygiene clinic that offers its services at no charge. Dental hygiene students, supervised by dentists on staff, will provide patients with a range of dental services including X-rays, gum treatments, teeth cleaning and fluoride treatments for adults and children.

“Our dental hygiene students have been preparing for this work since they began their studies last March,” said Hubert Benitez, DDS, director of the dental hygiene program at Missouri College. “They have followed a rigorous program and have been building their skills preparing themselves to begin serving the public. We are encouraging people to make appointments now for themselves and their children.”

Benitez said the students will be closely supervised by instructors who are dentists and dental hygienists. Just as with a regular dental appointment, the dental hygiene student will perform an examination, and prepare and implement a treatment plan, while instructors examine, review and oversee the dental hygiene student’s work.

The clinic will offer the following free services:

  • Intraoral and extraoral radiographs (X-rays)
  • Risk assessments
  • Vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature)
  • Periodontal treatments: calculus detection, periodontal scaling, root (planing) debridement, ultrasonic scaling
  • Fluoride therapy
  • Pit and fissure sealants
  • Coronal polishing and dental prosthesis maintenance
  • Health education and preventive services
  • Nutrition advising
  • Oral cancer screening

Patients whom the hygienist and dentist identify as needing additional dental services such as fillings or crowns will be referred to area dentists.

While the new clinic is open to the community-at-large, Benitez is making efforts to recruit low-income and uninsured patients. He has spearheaded the development of partnerships with the Little Bit Foundation, a non-profit agency that serves underprivileged children in St. Louis City schools, and with Santa Cecilia Catholic Church, a mostly-Hispanic parish in South St. Louis. Both groups plan to arrange appointments for patients and organize trips to the clinic.

“We see a strong need in our community for both dental care and dental education among our low income populations,” Benitez said. “Part of our mission at Missouri College is to reach out to these groups and improve access to oral health care, so we welcome the help from our partners to bring us patients in need.”

Benitez has also formed alliances with other community partners, including the St. Louis chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to develop educational coursework that instructs students on treating patients with special needs. Missouri College has also teamed up with Saint Louis University’s Doisy College of Health Sciences to offer a Medical Spanish course to help health profession students better communicate with Hispanic patients.

The Dental Hygiene Education program at Missouri College was launched in March, 2009. The new program is separate from a Dental Assistant degree program which the College has operated for more than 30 years.

To schedule an appointment at the Missouri College Dental Hygiene Clinic, patients can call 314-768-7898.

Editor’s note: Members of the media are invited to visit the dental hygiene clinic at Missouri College on November 24, from 10:30 a.m. until noon. Dental hygiene students and dentists will be treating patients during this time. Photography and videotaping of the facilities are welcome; interviews with staff are also available. For more information, please contact Terri Waters at 314-991-4641, ext. 102.

About Missouri College
Since 1963, Missouri College in St. Louis, Missouri, has given students the opportunity to obtain innovative, career-oriented training. Missouri College does not guarantee employment or salary. The school has diploma, specialized associate and bachelor degree level programs in the Healthcare and Business Areas, with a focus on Dental, Healthcare, Massage Therapy and Management fields. Missouri College is accredited by Accrediting Council for Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the Dental Assistant and Dental Hygiene programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. Missouri College does not guarantee employment or salary. Missouri College is a member of the Career Education Corporation (NASDAQ:CECO) network of universities, colleges and schools.

Contact: Terri Waters
314-991-4641, ext. 102
Cell: 314-971-3368


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Source: PRWeb
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