With February being Children’s Dental Health Month, first- and second-year FSU dental hygiene students in the Student American Dental Hygiene Association (SADHA) are anxiously awaiting the Children’s Dental Health Fair.
Taking place Feb. 11 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the FSU Dental Hygiene Clinic, the fair aims to reach out to the community by providing much needed dental care for children. Students will be doing cleanings, sealants, x-rays, fluoride treatments, as well as providing a fun environment for the kids by providing face painting, games, snacks, and even by dressing up a couple students as tooth fairies.
“Working on kids can be difficult because they are so afraid. I know I was,” Montana Moore, first-year dental hygiene student, said. “I’m not around kids a lot so it will be interesting to socialize with someone so little and scared and to see what works and what doesn’t.”
Local dentists will also be volunteering their time and efforts.
“As hygienists there is only so much we can diagnose. But it’s a good time to help teach them about preventive practices and things they need to make a habit out of at a young age,” Moore said.
Michelle Kirby, second-year dental hygiene student and class president, said that though there is no way to know for sure what percentage of families coming in have access to quality dental care or insurance, the fair is an opportunity for those who are struggling financially to give their kids the care they need, even if it’s just education.
“It gives low income families needed dental care. We also do table clinics about diet, nutrition and child caries. I’ve been really fortunate to have dental care my whole life. I think most hygienists want everyone else to have it too,” Kirby said.
Not only does the fair benefit the children and parents, but it’s also much needed practice for the students. Working with the children gives them the opportunity to grow as hygienists, but more importantly, as people.
“You see people from all different backgrounds and life styles. I would like to work in a pediatric office eventually so I’m excited to see how another hygienist handles a child in different situations and with different needs. Sometimes it’s sad to see what comes in. But then you feel affirmed that you are helping them,” Ashley Fennema, first-year dental hygiene student, said.
Much work and preparation goes into the fair before the big day. Student committees work hard to find sponsors for prizes, campus involvement for food, and to recruit volunteers.
“It’s a busy day, a big learning experience and involves a lot of teamwork,” Kirby said.
The Children’s Dental Hygiene Fair is free for all children 13 and under. The clinic also offers $25 cleanings regularly. For more information, contact Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org n