BY AMANDA SOTELO
Texas State Technical College Dental Hygiene and Dental Assistant students will be hosting “Sealants Across Texas” on February 20 from 8 a.m.
to noon at the TSTC Dental Hygiene Clinic in Harlingen to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month. The public is invited to bring their children to this free event.
Children ages six to 14-years old, from across the Rio Grande Valley, will have the opportunity to get free teeth screenings, x-rays and dental sealants, or plastic coating on the surface of teeth that prevents tooth decay.
Families will also learn about proper oral healthcare and preventative measures that will help keep their children’s smiles healthy.
The Rio Grande Valley chapter of the Dental Hygienists Society, consisting primarily of TSTC Dental Hygiene graduates, is co-sponsoring the affair and will be assisting the students with the procedures. Local dentists are volunteering and will be on hand to answer any questions. Dental materials used for the event were donated by numerous dental companies.
“This is a community service effort by our students,” said TSTC Associate Professor for Dental Hygiene Gladys Arjona.
“Dental Hygienists Society chapters statewide host this event annually, and having it locally allows our students to see the difference and the impact our efforts make in the community.” Arjona said her students hope to see at least 100 children on the day of the event.
The last time they hosted “Sealants Across Texas” in 2009, they had a little more than 100 children attend. “Not only is this is great way for our students to receive hands-on experience and network with alumni from TSTC and professionals in their field, but it also raises awareness for parents about the importance of taking their children to the dentist,” said Arjona.
Dental Hygiene student Alma Hernandez is expected to graduate May 2016 and is excited for the event and experience she will gain working with children.
“Here at our clinic we mostly see adults, so being able to work with children is going to be educational,” said Hernandez. “Being exposed to things we’re going to face in the real world and learning from those already working in the industry will be beneficial in helping us reach our goal of becoming dental hygienists.”
Hernandez also noted that this event is valuable to the community, especially for families who are unable to pay for dentist visits. “There are many families that can’t afford dental care,” said Hernandez.
“This event will help them with that obstacle.” TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program is the only one of its kind south of Corpus Christi that is fully accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. Students who complete the program earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree.
Those enrolled in Dental Hygiene also have the opportunity to work in the TSTC Dental Hygiene Clinic gaining hands-on experience vital to their success in the program.
The clinic is free and open to the public.
For more information on “Sealants Across Texas” or the Dental Hygiene Program and clinic call 956-364-4696.
Apply to TSTC’s Dental programs anytime at tstc.edu. Registration for Summer and Fall semesters begins April 4.