Cleaning teeth for diplomas

Cleaning teeth for diploma from MWSU Campus Watch on Vimeo.

Students in the dental hygiene program are working to get more patients in the door, all in hopes of getting their hands on your pearly whites. Junior dental hygiene student, Meagan Sims said the student body may not be aware of a free service the program offers.

“I don’t think a lot of them know they can get their teeth cleaned for free. So we’re just trying to get the word out right now, just to see a little bit more of our community in here supporting us,” Sims said.

Students aren’t the only one that can benefit from the dental clinic on campus. Anyone from the surrounding area can come for some dental work at a lower cost. A standard dental cleaning at MSU costs $15 for children and adult cleanings start at $20. At Spearmint Dental here in Wichita Falls a standard children’s cleaning starts out at $66 and adults at $76 that’s not including $40 for the first appointment costs.

Assistant Professor Martha Crump says there’s no typical patient. Students see everything from children, who just need a standard cleaning, to adults with more complex needs like fillings. Crump said the variety not only helps educate her students, it’s also a requirement to remain an accredited program.

“One of the reasons that we accept so many types of patients and we’re really not exclusive in that is that the body that accredits us, the Dental Education Accreditation Committee, requires all students in dental and dental hygiene courses to have similar experiences,” Crump said.

Nina Rose, a junior in the program credits her professors for making the move from models to actual patients, a smooth one.

“Yes, they do really well being able to transitions us from clinic and classroom into the real world,” Rose said. “Experience has been really good so far. We really like actually being in the mouth and doing things as opposed to being on a model. So it’s been really good, it’s been a good transition. I think we’ve all done fairly well transitioning from a model to a real patient.”

This experience is a required part of the bachelor’s degree at Midwestern State, one of only three universities in the state that offer a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. The employment opportunities for graduates beyond being a dental hygienist include teaching for a program that offers an associate’s degree, state employment for correctional facilities and dental or medical sales.

“In terms of employment opportunities our students graduate with an advantage, we do believe,” Crump said.

If you want to make an appointment this semester you have until May 1. The program does not operate during the summer and will again be taking appointments in late August.