New Dental Course at ATC
Shelbyville, Ky. (December 6, 2018) Becky Clark is a mom of two Shelby County High School students, a citizen of Shelby County and a dental hygienist at Dr. Lohr’s office. Becky has a passion for careers in the dental field. With the knowledge of college and career readiness, she approached John Leeper, Deputy Superintendent, Steve Coleman, director of College and Career Readiness, and anyone else who would listen about a course for Shelby County students for certification in the dental field.
Some dental assisting programs cost $15,000 for a nine month program. In Kentucky, there is no requirement to have that schooling. While dentists can offer on the job training, ninety-nine percent of dentists want to hire dental assistants and hygienists who are trained. They want to hire people who will stay and make it their career. Becky wanted to create a course that would offer the certification students need to work in the dental field at no cost to them. With the help of SCPS and the area ATC, a course was created and is in its infancy.
The course is called Dental Careers. “Our students will be prepared to work as dental assistants. To be a hygienist or a dentist will require a degree from a university and a national and state board tests to receive a license. If they decided to go to dental hygiene or dental school, at a university, our students will be quite a bit ahead of other students because of this opportunity,” said Ms. Clark.
Before a student enters Ms. Clark’s class, they must have had three prerequisite classes. These are the same class a student must have before they enter the Nurse Aide class. Prerequisites include, Principles of Health Science, Emergency Procedures and Medical Terminology.
Ms. Clark explained the course. “We are a yearlong class that currently meets from 8:30-11 am. In the first semester, we learn all the basic knowledge and skills needed to work in a dental office. We learn infection control in the dental setting, tooth anatomy and morphology, dental abbreviations and terms, radiation safety, X-ray placement and technique. They will get their OSHA and HIPPA certifications. Then, students will go to UK in December to take their industry certification, radiation safety test. All throughout this first semester we take many field trips to different types of dental office and U of L & UK dental schools.”
Ms. Clark said that they are modeling the ATC’s program after the program at the Prosser Education Center in New Albany, Indiana. The students will have competencies that they have to complete which include performing treatment room cleaning and disinfecting, performing the morning routine, entering treatment in a patient record, mixing dental plaster stone, pouring dental molds and assisting in a root canal therapy, to name a few.
In the spring semester, students will intern at three different offices in Shelbyville rotating through Dr. Coleman’s office, Dr. Kirby’s office and Dr. Taylor’s office giving students experience in a family practice, a pediatric practice and an orthodontic practice. At each site the students will have a mentor and will make sure that they have opportunities to practice and work.
In Ms. Clark’s class, students are working on the question: How can I, as a dental student, most affect my community's dental health? Students will present at community forums such as Wright Elementary to promote dental health to students and Touched Twice to provide dental instruction. Students are currently researching and presenting to each other to rehearse. One student is working at a local dental office on the weekends.
Ms. Clark hopes to grow the program in the future. If you have questions, email her at Becky.Clark@shelby.kyschools.us.