Dental program offers something to smile about

Students practice cleaning teeth as part of OCC’s dental assisting program.

Orange Coast College’s dental assisting program is offering free sealants to patients throughout April.

A typical procedure to protect the teeth from cavities would normally cost upwards of $200 at a dentist’s office, officials said, but the dental program is offering it for free according to those running the program.

Joy Myers, the dental assisting program director, said that though the procedure is free for the patients, it is still funded through the program. The procedure is paid for using the dental program budget and student material fees.

Although this opportunity is only available for current OCC students and faculty, they hope to expand and reach out to the larger community.

“We have been doing this for 12 years but just recently got marketing involved to get the word out more effectively to our OCC population and community,” Myers said.

According to Myers, this procedure is a requirement for students in the dental assisting program. In addition to satisfying the requirement, the students gain experience by performing complex procedures on patients, Myers said.

By the time students are placing sealants in patients’ mouths, they have undergone extensive training, according to Myers.

“Students perform the procedures after practicing on models and student partners. They have been instructed and all procedures are performed with qualified faculty present,” Myers said.

Heather Moreno, a first-year dental assisting professor, said that during their nine-month program students will not only learn the technical side of dental care but will learn to develop a proper bedside manner.

To receive a free sealant, students must go through a series of steps. Anyone interested in having a free dental sealant treatement must first email for a pit and fissure sealant check.

If the patient has appropriate teeth and are eligible for the procedure, an appointment will be made and a student will be assigned to carry out the procedure, Myers said.

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