Grant Helps Tunxis Provide Dental Care to Additional Underserved Populations

September 11, 2012
Posted in
September 11, 2012 James Revillini

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(L to R) Tunxis dental hygiene students Susan LaPlante and Ashley Lebel are shown utilizing the mobile dental equipment in spring 2012 for a community outreach project. LaPlante and Lebel graduated in May.

Tunxis Community College received a $5,000 grant from Liberty Bank Foundation to purchase equipment to expand its mobile dental hygiene program.

“The funding will allow us to purchase new mobile equipment and reach diverse underserved populations we wouldn’t be able to provide care for previously, ” said Claudia Turcotte, professor of dental hygiene, who serves as the grant coordinator.

The mobile dental units, which supplement the work the students perform in community dental clinics, are part of its outreach to Avery Heights nursing home in Hartford, Marlborough Nursing Home and other sites.

“Our students learn about the unmet need for dental care in Connecticut and the importance of community outreach throughout the program,” said Turcotte. “The mobile equipment provides additional opportunities for them to continue practicing the dental hygiene skills they have learned in the classroom and through their clinical work.”

Each mobile dental unit is equipped with a dental seat, portable dental hygiene handpiece polishers, and cordless broadband curing lights. Dental hygiene students use the equipment to provide cleanings, cancer screenings, dental radiographs, sealants, fluoride treatments and oral health education under the supervision of Tunxis faculty who are registered dental hygienists.

Tunxis is 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.

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. For more information on the dental hygiene program at Tunxis, call 860.773.1300. Visit the Tunxis website at

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