Parkland dental clinic resource for students, community

Debbie Skinner

Staff Writer

The dental hygiene clinic at Parkland College offers many opportunities not only for the dental hygiene students, but also for Parkland College students,

Photo by Scott Wells | The Prospectus  Sophomore Carly Adams works at the Dental Hygiene Clinic on Feb. 5, 2016.  Students in the program learn to provide clinical services such as oral exams, dental cleanings, and teeth bleaching.

Photo by Scott Wells | The Prospectus
Sophomore Carly Adams works at the Dental Hygiene Clinic on Feb. 5, 2016. Students in the program learn to provide clinical services such as oral exams, dental cleanings, and teeth bleaching.

faculty, staff, and community members.

Peg Boyce, the co-director of the Dental Hygiene Program at Parkland College mentioned how one of the program’s goals “is to offer services to the public and we are deliberate about using our knowledge and skills to help others.”

Kim Pankau, the co-director of the Dental Hygiene Program, explained a recent update to the clinic.

“This year, thanks to the generous donation by Carle Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department, our program was able to transition completely from film radiography to digital radiography,” Pankau said.

Said donation was an x-ray device which would have cost the clinic around $25,000. The machine was installed in August 2015, and incorporated into the dental hygiene curriculum in October 2015.

The x-ray machine saves Parkland College over $5,000 a year from film development costs.

Chad Seeber, a student in the Dental Hygiene Program at Parkland College, mentioned how he has had a great experience in the program.

“The knowledge and teaching abilities of the staff…have enabled us to become great professionals of dental hygiene,” Seeber said. “The facilities are also great and provide us with the opportunity to work in a clinical setting and treat patients with the highest standard of care…I can’t imagine attending a better program with better staff and better fellow students.”

Fareha Kazmi, a student in the second year of the dental hygiene program, described how the clinical skill opportunities in the clinic help prepare for a real career.

“Being a part of the dental hygiene program at Parkland College has made me realize the different aspects of dental hygiene from being a clinician, doing service, to even being an active part in legislature,” Kazmi reflected. “The Parkland dental hygiene clinic allows me to help and appreciate a variety of patients.”

Not only does the dental hygiene program serve its students, but the clinic serves the local community.

The available services at the clinic include blood pressure screenings, oral cancer screenings, dental cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, oral hygiene instruction, and radiographs.

The cost for most treatments including those listed previously is $10.00 for patients over 12 and under 65 years of age. Patients who qualify for Medicaid, children under 12, military veterans, and patients of 65 and over may qualify for free services.

Whitening and bleaching are also available for an additional cost.

The clinic features 17 dental chairs, electronic charting and radiographs. When the clinic is in session, there is always a dentist present, along with 3 to 4 instructors present per 15 to 16 students.

Renee’ Catlin, the administrative assistant at the dental hygiene clinic, described how students in the program are always needing patients to service for clinical board hours, such as patients who have not had their teeth cleaned in several years. Pankau explained how the second year students in the program serve these patients.

“The second year students are required to select and treat a patient with moderate, subgingival calculus [hardened plaque or tartar] in order to pass their regional clinic exam,” Pankau said.

The clinic is open to the public, and there are no restrictions about where the patients live. The clinic may even see patients who travel a few hours to Champaign in order to attend the clinic.

The fourth annual Day of Healthy Smiles is a free dental clinic hosted by Parkland College for clients who cannot afford to pay for dental care, and will be held on April 9. In order to attend the event, patients must have been previously seen in the clinic at Parkland, and must schedule an appointment.

“We invite local dentists, oral surgeons, dental personnel and Ragle Dental Lab to work in our clinic and students assist the dentists, provide oral hygiene instruction…and give injections,” Boyce said. “Surgical Technology students and faculty provide post-op care and education and nursing students and faculty provide medical history review and blood pressure screenings. We will have around 100 volunteers and will see almost 125 patients that day, providing extractions and fillings for free.”

“Last year we provided dental services that would have cost $98,000,”she said.

Give Kids A Smile, which is open to the public, will be held in the dental hygiene clinic from 9 AM to 12 PM on March 12. Children of all ages may receive a range of free dental procedures, which will be provided by students, faculty, and local dental health professionals.

For more information about the dental hygiene clinic or to schedule an appointment, call 217- 351-2221. The clinic is open 8 AM to noon and 1 PM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. The clinic is located at L149.