No amount of theoretical learning about dental hygiene can replace the experience gained from working on a real patient.
That was the feeling that prompted College of Lake County's school of dental hygiene to start a clinic that is open to the public, the Grayslake Review reports.
Previously, they had worked on a small number of recruits from a local naval training center, but students believed they needed to see a wider variety of patients.
Services offered by the clinic include an initial screening, dental cleaning, fluoride, sealants and x-rays.
Hundreds of people have utilized the clinic since it opened in 2006, taking advantage of dental care procedures performed by students in the program, under the supervision of a licensed dentist and dental hygienist.
Some of these patients may have chosen these low-cost services because dental insurance premiums were too expensive for them.
"It's a wonderful experience for the students," teacher Sue Nierstheimer told the publication. "I think it's made our program better. And it's important to be involved in the community."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in dental hygiene are currently some of the fastest-growing occupations, offering "excellent" opportunities.
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