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HGTC Celebrates Children's Dental Health Month

(Conway, SC) 02/21/2024

Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) proudly announces its collaboration with Seaside Elementary to promote pediatric dental care and education in observance of National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Spearheaded by HGTC Professor, Jennifer Estabrook, dental assisting students from HGTC will embark on a mission to Seaside Elementary on Friday, February 23, commencing at 8 a.m.  Children's Dental Health Month serves as a poignant reminder of the significance of good oral hygiene practices from an early age. At Seaside Elementary, HGTC's dedicated students will conduct informative sessions tailored for students ranging from PreK to 5th grade. Through engaging presentations, they will impart invaluable knowledge about dental health and nutrition, instilling essential habits for a lifetime of oral wellness.

"Our outreach initiatives, such as this collaboration with Seaside Elementary, underscore HGTC's commitment to community service and education," expressed Jennifer Estabrook, Dental Sciences Professor at HGTC. "By actively engaging with local schools during Children's Dental Health Month, we aim to promote a culture of preventive dental care and empower young minds to prioritize their oral health."

This initiative not only aligns with HGTC's dedication to academic excellence but also serves as a cornerstone in meeting accreditation standards for community service and outreach to vulnerable populations. By equipping students with practical experiences that transcend the classroom, HGTC ensures that its graduates emerge as compassionate professionals poised to make meaningful contributions to society.

"Good oral health in childhood is a critical component to overall health and well-being," said Michelle Meeker, Program Director of the Dental Sciences Department at HGTC. "Educating children about oral health at a young age can encourage regular dental care and lead to healthier lifestyles in the future."

The Expanded Duty Dental Assisting (EDDA) certificate prepares dental assistants to perform chair-side assisting; expose and process radiographs; perform basic business-office procedures; manage asepsis, infection, and hazard-control protocols; perform laboratory procedures; assist in the management of emergencies; provide oral-health instruction; and function as a member of the dental team. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be deemed the title of Expanded Duty Dental Assistant. Graduates will then be granted approval to take the Dental Assisting National Board to become a Certified Dental Assistant.

The Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene degree prepares students to provide direct patient care in the detection and prevention of oral diseases under the supervision of a dentist, as required by law. The dental hygienist's major role is as an educator and includes designing dental hygiene treatment and education for patients on an individual basis. Graduates of this program will be qualified to evaluate patient medical histories, take, and record blood pressure, chart conditions of periodontal disease and decay for diagnosis by the dentist, conduct oral-cancer screening examinations, educate the patient on the latest techniques of oral home care, and perform a thorough cleaning of the patients' teeth. A dental hygienist is also qualified to apply sealants and fluoride for the prevention of decay, to expose and develop radiographs, and to provide nutritional counseling for dental patients.  Graduates are eligible to take national and state board examinations. After successful completion of these examinations, graduates will be licensed and recognized as a Registered Dental Hygienist.

Students in the Expanded Duty Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene programs receive their education in a state-of-the-art Dental Clinic on the Grand Strand campus, under the direct supervision of licensed dentists and hygienists. 

For more information about the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Dental Sciences, contact Professor Michelle Meeker at michelle.meeker@hgtc.edu or 843-839-1091.