Over 70 dental hygiene and dental assisting students, faculty and alumni of Tunxis Community College volunteered their services for the Connecticut Mission of Mercy’s (CTMOM) seventh annual clinic, held April 25-26 at the XL Center in Hartford.
The large-scale, multi-chair dental clinic provides free dental care to the underserved and uninsured in Connecticut, and is one of several community based learning experiences in which Tunxis dental students participate each year.
Tunxis faculty and alumni who are registered dental hygienists and dental assistants, provided patient care, while students assisted the hygienists, and helped with set-up, X-rays, oral hygiene instruction, sterilization and triage.
Over 2,300 patients received approximately $1.6 million of free dental services during the clinic.
“Community service is an integral part of the allied dental curriculum at Tunxis,” said Robin Knowles, Tunxis professor of dental hygiene and a registered dental hygienist, who was among the Tunxis faculty who attended. “Experiences such as CTMOM allow students to apply the knowledge that they have gained in their courses to real world situations. Our students learn about health disparities in class, and CTMOM allows them to see for themselves the impact of issues related to lack of access to care.”
CTMOM, which is organized by the Connecticut State Dental Association, travels around the state to identify underserved areas where there are not enough dental practitioners to adequately address the oral health needs of the community.
The only public college in Connecticut to provide a degree program in dental hygiene, Tunxis is also the only known college in New England with a dental hygiene program that utilizes community clinic sites for the majority of students’ clinical experiences. Students gain practical experience at clinical sites throughout Connecticut under professional supervision while providing care to underserved populations, many of whom are children or elderly.
From fine arts, health, and technology to liberal arts & sciences programs, Tunxis offers over 60 associate’s degrees and certificates, providing critical thinking and problem-solving skills that prepare students for transfer to bachelor’s degree programs and employment in areas with industry need. Visit the Tunxis website at tunxis.edu.