Dental program brings opportunity to campus

By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor

For graduating dental hygienist Lauren Vance, she didn’t know what to expect when being accepted into the NE Campus dental hygiene program.

“It was a bunch of girls and one guy in my class, and it was nerve-wracking because women can be catty, but our class got along and the teachers gave us the tools to learn to work together, become teammates and lift each other up,” Vance said.

Vance is one of 20 students graduating this year from the dental hygiene program, which got its start in 1969.

When asked about the advantages of taking the dental hygienist program at NE Campus versus a for-profit school a student might see on television, dental hygiene professor Cindy O’Neal gave the pros and cons.

“The advantages of the NE program is that it is considerably less,” she said. “Other schools are in the $40,000 to $50,000 range while our program cost students around $19,000 for the two years, and that includes everything: books, tuition, uniform and licensing exams.”

The program takes in 24 students a year out of the usual 90 to 100 applicants. Students must maintain at least a grade of C in all of the program’s coursework. Preparation for getting into the program is to take anatomy and physiology along with chemistry and microbiology.

“Taking those classes and making A’s will make a student a good candidate for the program,” O’Neal said.

The program also offers basic dental care on campus where students or people in the community can pay $10 to help students complete work hours required for the program.

“A person can call the clinic or go to the office to submit their information, and they will be placed into a patient pool where the students will pick out a person based on their requirements,” Vance said.

Students can practice and learn the latest technology in the dental field, such as the 3D digital Anatomage table.

“It’s been a real benefit to students to be able learn anatomy, physiology of the head and the neck area,” O’Neal said.

Second-year student Emma Ryan said her best experience in the program is the sisterhood she formed with the other students and the helpful instructors. She also goes into detail about why she joined the program.

“I’ve only heard good things about this program,” she said. “I’ve met hygienists that graduated from the program, and they said they all had good experiences. When it comes to taking the national board, the pass rate is very high, and dentists say the graduates come out ready to work.”