Dental Clinics Provide Students Practical Experience with Kids
Halloween was just a couple of weeks ago and many of us still have some leftover candy sitting around. According to the Halloween Fun Facts infographic by the American Dental Association, for children, the largest amount of candy consumed is on or following Halloween.1
Since a balanced diet is connected to overall oral health, it’s no wonder that Halloween can leave dental professionals uneasy.2
This spooky statistic and last month’s National Dental Hygiene Month has us thinking about how we can help children have healthy smiles.
The Carrington College Dental Hygiene program which is available at the Mesa and Boise campuses and the Carrington College California Dental Hygiene program which is available at the Sacramento and San Jose campuses¾not only prepares our students for their professional careers, but also lets them play an active role in helping children develop lifelong healthy dental hygiene habits.
Each campus location has a dental clinic where children between the ages of 3 and 16 can receive complimentary cleanings, X-rays, exams and fluoride treatments.
Carrington students gain hands-on experience by treating patients¾all under the supervision of trained professional instructors.
“You’ll see their instructors working side by side with them to best help meet their patients’ needs,” says Brenda Chavez, clinical coordinator in the Mesa dental hygiene program.
How does this help promote healthy smiles?
In 2011, more than 4 million children under the age of 17 had unmet dental needs because their families could not afford dental care.3 Offering complimentary services provides those children the opportunity to receive dental attention, while learning that taking care of your teeth can be fun.
Tips for working with kids 4
Working with kids isn’t always easy but following these tips can help make both your experience and theirs go smoothly.
- Talk them through the process
It might be a little scary going to a dental clinic, especially if it is the child’s first time. Talking them through the process will help reduce their anxiety by distracting them and keeping them informed so nothing comes as a surprise.
- Don’t use big words
Using the terms “anesthesia” and “fluoride treatments” won’t mean much to a child. Try putting these concepts in simple terms, such as “we’re going to put your mouth to sleep and it might feel a little funny.”
- Give clear directions
Children might tend to wiggle around and this might make exams or cleanings difficult. Give the child clear instructions, like telling them to sit really still, and give them praise for following directions.
1 American Dental Association, ‘Halloween Fun Facts,’ 2012 –
3 Fox, Karen, American Dental Association, ‘Redefine ‘treat’ this Halloween,’ September 10, 2012 –
3 Palmer, Craig, American Dental Association, ‘Children’s dental visits, unmet need: Data from 2011 National Health Interview Survey,’ March 21, 2013 –
4 Psaltis, Greg DDS ‘The reality of working with kids,’ –