Dental assisting students from West-MEC, a vocational and technical education district in the West Valley, participated in a dental program for children from underserved communities run by TeamSmile, a national advocacy group.
The program, sponsored by the Arizona Coyotes and Tucson Roadrunners, took place in September.
Oral treatments offered were dental exams, cleanings, fluoride brush treatments and dental education.
“While we provided free dental services to children under the age of 18, the Arizona Coyotes and Tucson Roadrunners held free hockey activities that encouraged children to participate in the program,” said Kellie Reneau-Jardon. , Director of the TeamSmile program.
Julie Ehrman, certified dental assistant and dental assisting instructor at West-MEC, has volunteered in TeamSmile programs for the past eight years.
This year, West-MEC’s dental assisting program had the opportunity to participate. While describing the dental program and its benefits, Ehrman said, “Volunteering for TeamSmile is part of our workplace learning experiences that we provide to students. It allows them to see what their future can be. They can see hygienists, assistants and dentists in one place, serving children in a window of six hours a day.
West-MEC students taught the importance of brushing and flossing. They gained hands-on experience making boil-and-bite mouthguards provided by the Arizona Dental Foundation that children can use during sports to protect their teeth.
According to TeamSmile, the goal of the Phase II program is to assess the child’s dental health and work with their family to find a dental office. In addition to providing dental care screenings, children received oral health education and dental hygiene kits sponsored by Delta Dental and Colgate, giving them tools for oral health care. successful.
Describing the participation of the students, Reneau-Jardon said, “The students have been a tremendous asset to our program. They were great with the kids and created some awesome educational banners to enhance our educational program.
In Arizona, West-MEC students were the only school-aged volunteers in the TeamSmile Phase II program. The approximate number of children treated in Phoenix was 225, with 105 more in Tucson.