Students 'Open Wide' For MCC Dental Hygiene Students
Students ‘Open Wide’ For MCC’s Dental Hygiene Students
A productive visit by 29 Middlesex County College (MCC) students in the Dental Hygiene program resulted in about 90 Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) students receiving free dental screenings.
The Dental Hygiene students, several faculty, and two dentists, arrived at 6:30 a.m., and within two hours they transformed the Professional Development Academy Media Center into seven dental screening stations. For the next two hours, students from Bright Beginnings Learning Center, Future Foundations Academy and Piscataway Regional Day School steadily filed through to have their teeth checked. MCC’s future Dental Hygienists are all in the final semester of a two-year program.
“We were looking for decay, plaque buildup, inflamed gums and related issues,” said MCC Dental Hygiene Professor Lynn Tobin, who coordinated the visit.
“This was also an opportunity to speak with students about best practices for maintaining good oral health,” she added.
Professor Tobin said the department regularly participates in health fairs and dental screenings at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System in Lyons.
“Our students don’t have that many opportunities to work with the special needs population, so this was a great training experience for the class, and benefitted the students we examined as well,” said Professor Tobin.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “people with intellectual disabilities” have more tooth decay and “a higher prevalence of gingivitis and other periodontal diseases than the general population.”
The MCC Dental Hygiene program provides some training for working with special needs students. The training was reinforced when Center for Lifelong Learning Supervisor Meena Pasupathy, BCBA, visited the MCC campus to meet with the students and talk about ESCNJ’s student population.
“Meena gave a great presentation in advance of our visit, so our students felt very prepared,” said MCC Dental Hygiene Chair Michelle Roman.
When the screening was finished, a dentist came by for a final check. Students then received a goodie bag of toothpaste, dental floss, and mouth wash, and a dental screening form for their parents noting any decay, plaque buildup, and treatment recommendations.
“We’re a public college and part of our mandate is to give back to the community,” said Professor Roman.
Interim MCC President Dr. Mark McCormick, who was also on site, said the college is committed to community outreach.
The MCC Dental Hygiene Clinic, in L’Hommedieu Hall, provides dental examinations, fluoride treatment, X-rays, and nutritional counseling for a nominal charge.