Edison State College Dental Hygiene Program Addressing the Dental Divide in Southwest Florida

By Marie A. Collins, RDH, MS, EdD, Dean, School of Health Professions – Edison State College

Edison State College DentalFebruary is National Dental Health Month! The American Dental Association (ADA) has identified a major dental health crisis in America, especially for adults and children with lower incomes. The Affordable Care Act will offer little to no relief for these Americans who do not have dental insurance. When surveyed, 40% of lower-income adults stated that they believe that health care reform will help them obtain dental care. This healthcare reform myth will further escalate the dental divide in America. Please see the ADA web site for more information on their proposed Action for Dental Health and results of other surveys that illustrate the scope of America’s dental health crisis.

The Dental Hygiene Program at Edison State College School of Health Professions is doing its part to address the dental divide by serving the communities of Southwest Florida in a state-of-the-art Dental Hygiene Clinic on the Lee campus. The clinic offers added comfort to the patients we serve and also provides the most modern technology for our education program.

The Naples Children and Education Foundation (NCEF) Pediatric Dental Center is on Edison State’s Collier Campus. There, the focus is a full scope of routine and specialty dental care for children up to age 21. University of Florida College of Dentistry students and faculty provide care for children in this top-notch pediatric residency training program. Edison’s ongoing investment in the dental hygiene education program, strong community support from NCEF, and intercollegiate  partnerships with University of Florida places Southwest Florida front and center in conquering the dental divide for adults and children.

Edison’s Dental Hygiene Clinic opened in December 2000 and serves 3,000 patients annually. The Clinic is equipped with 16 dental suites, including dental radiographic units and an instrument sterilization center. The clinic incorporated electronic (paperless) patient records in 2004. Faculty, staff and students in the program also service the local community through participation in several projects.  The Edison State College Dental Hygiene program is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. For 18 consecutive years, graduates have earned a 100% pass rate on the National Board Den-
tal Hygiene Examination. The Program boasts a 90% completion rate among students accepted into the program, with 258 graduates since 1995.

Each class is diverse with students of various age and ethnic backgrounds. English is a second language for 30% of the students enrolled in the program. The Dental Hygiene program also partners with the Continuing Education Department to offer an injectable dental anesthesia course for Florida’s Registered Dental Hygienists. This is a result of a recent legislative change that expanded the scope of skills performed by dental hygienists. The NCEF Pediatric Dental Center has 15 operatories and two sedation suites equipped for nitrous oxide sedation, IV sedation, and interceptive orthodontics. The center is one of a select few in the state that is able to provide such specialized dental care.

“The Dental Hygiene Clinic is not only a great resource for providing clinical education for our students, but also a tremendous asset for our community members who may not have access to dental care,” said Karen Molumby, Program Director of Dental Hygiene. “Patients receive outstanding preventive dental care at  an affordable price while students obtain valuable hands-on experience, supervised by our talented and experienced faculty who are licensed Dental Hygienists and Dentists,” added Dr. Marie Collins, Dean, School of Health Professions.

Edison State College Events
January 24 through March 29, 2014 – Yoko Ono “Imagine Peace” Art Exhibit
(call 239.489.9313 or visit RauschenbergGallery.com with questions)

February 15, 2014 – ‘Give Kids a Smile Day’ – 9am to 3pm – Free dental cleaning and exam for children
ages 3 to 17, Dental Clinic on the
Fort Myers Campus

March 3 to 9, 2014 – Spring Break

March 22, 2014 – GreenFest will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the
Collier Campus on the green
behind Building M

April 10, 2014 – Edison State College Symphony Orchestra and Edison State College Choir, 7:30pm in the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

April 15, 2014 – Job Fair from 12pm to 2pm on Fort Myers Campus

April 17, 2014 – Edison State College Jazz Ensembles, 7:30pm in the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

April 24, 2014 – Edison State College Band and Wind Ensemble, 7:30pm in the Barbara B. Mann Performing
Arts Hall

May 2, 2014 – Commencement

Edison State Collage – www.edison.edu – 800-749-2322

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