The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine, Section of Community and Preventive Dentistry is engaged in educating our students in prevention and oral health promotion, special needs patient care and geriatric dentistry.
The following represents a few of the highlights from the annual Community and Preventive Dentistry calendar:
The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine hosted more than 180 children during this year’s Give Kids A Smile Day. This full-day, community service event at SIU SDM was held on Monday, October 13, 2014 at the School’s main clinic in Alton.
Children between the ages of 3 and 13 received free dental care – including examinations, radiographs, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings and extractions—throughout the day. The total dental treatment provided was valued at nearly $75,000.
The dental care was offered by SIU School of Dental Medicine faculty, staff and students; members of the Madison and St. Clair district dental societies; Lewis and Clark Community College dental assisting and dental hygiene faculty and students; and faculty and students from the Missouri College dental assisting and dental hygiene programs. Professionals and volunteers from the community also participated.
“What sets us apart from other programs around the country is that we provide a full range of comprehensive treatment at no cost,” said Dr. Poonam Jain, Professor and Director of Community and Preventive Dentistry at the SIU School of Dental Medicine. “Also exciting is the fact that we have genuinely become a dental home for many children. There was a child here today who has come to this event for six years in a row.”
Give Kids A Smile Day is a national event sponsored by the American Dental Association to provide free dental treatment for underserved children. The event promotes community awareness of the need for dental services among the underserved.
Fun activities for children took place throughout the event. First-year dental students from the SIU School of Dental Medicine hosted a “Smile Station” featuring fun, educational activities and games to help children learn the importance of a good diet, oral hygiene and the connections between their mouths and bodies.
Photo Captions: Left - Year I dental student Kyle Horcher with children attending the 2014 Give Kids A Smile Day; Middle - Year III dental student Brittany Scanlon providing dental care for a child; Right - Year III dental student Jacob Bleyer reviews a digital radiograph with new SIUE Provost Parviz Ansari, who was attending the SIU SDM Give Kids a Smile Day for his first time.
The Southern Illinois University once again celebrated National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) in February. The SIU SDM Community and Preventive Dentistry Program invited local elementary schools to send children to the Alton Campus for free oral health exams, as well as a fun, interactive oral health education program.
The elementary schools that participated in our NCDHM program this year were Lovejoy Elementary from Alton, South Roxana Elementary School, Central Elementary from Roxana, and for the first time this year, Mississippi Valley Christian School from Alton. In all, 14 classes participated in our program. In spite of the cold weather and multiple snow days this year, a total of 292 local school kids attended and 227 of those kids received free oral health exams.
Most of our Year III and Year IV dental students were involved with the NCDHM program this year. The elementary school children thoroughly enjoyed the five interactive, hands-on learning centers, hosted by SIU SDM dental students. The learning centers focused on oral-systemic connections, appropriate dietary and beverage choices and oral hygiene.
At the end of each session, all participating children received an oral health kit. Also, each participating teacher received a set of educational resources for follow up oral health instruction.
Madison County Oral Health Education Program
Our students are actively engaged in outreach activities including providing oral health promotion at elementary, middle and high schools in Madison County. As part of the Clinical Community Dentistry course, Year III and IV students work in teams, which generally consist of 2 students. Each team is assigned to classes at a Madison County elementary school, middle school and high school. Student teams conduct a needs assessment at each school, after meeting with school administrators and the school nurse. They then make age-appropriate oral health presentations to each class in elementary and middle schools twice per semester and to high school classes once per semester.
As the dental students graduate from year III to year IV, they move with the public school students; i.e., if they were assigned to grade 3 in their Year III, they move to grade 4 in their year IV. At the end of year IV, students write a service-learning paper describing their experiences at public schools and the impact they have made on the students.
Madison County Teacher Survey
Oral screenings and oral health education in the community
Another component of the Clinical Community Dentistry program involves student participation in oral screenings and oral health education in our community. Year III and Year IV students actively participate in local health fairs and provide oral cancer screenings at various venues, including sites in East St. Louis and Senior Services Plus locations. Students make oral health presentations to mothers in a local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, parents of kids in the Riverbend Head Start Program, and provide screenings and education to the children at the Madison County Youth Detention Home.
Year III students get didactic instruction and clinical experience in special needs patient management and/or care. Each student's clinical experience consists of rotations through our Special needs Clinic and another off-site experience. We provide screenings at the William Bedell Centers for children and adults every year. We also provide screenings for the athletes at the Area 12 Special Olympics games in Edwardsville every year. In addition, our students work at a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities- Beverly Farms, under Dr. Scott Wolter's supervision.
Year IV students receive didactic instruction and clinical experience in managing elderly patients living independently in the community as well as those in assisted living institutions or nursing homes. Our students provide annual screenings for the residents of our local nursing home- Eunice Smith. Each student also provides in-service training to our local nursing home staff and a presentation on a relevant topic to elderly people in our community.