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ODU seniors, Malubi students talk teeth etiquette


School of Dental Hygiene Gives Children Much to Smile About

February is National Children's Dental Health Month, designed to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing effective oral care behaviors at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health care providers and others to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and adults, caregivers, teachers and many others. Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life

Give Kids A Smile is an annual centerpiece to National Children's Dental Health Month, designed to provide education, preventive and or restorative care to low-income children who do not have access to care. In support of this initiative on Feb 11, 2012, Old Dominion University School of Dental Hygiene and the Tidewater Dental Association partnered to provide preventive dental services and examinations to locally underserved children.

Children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia participated in this free event which provided education, dental examinations, dental x-rays, pit and fissure sealants and fluoride therapy to children free of charge. For the 10th year, area dentists and dental hygiene faculty and student volunteers have worked together to improve oral health outcomes in disadvantaged and undeserved local children. This year, approximately $11,000 in free dental services was provided.






School of Dental Hygiene Shares Expertise at Homeless Connect in Norfolk

Homeless Connect projectAnnually, the city of Norfolk holds a special event to facilitate basic health services for the homeless. On April 18, 2012 six dental hygiene students, Brieanna Budavich, Julia Cibrin, Jessica Elmore, Nicole Pensinger, Ellen Polakowski, and Kyle Viloria, and two faculty members, Dr. Lee Melvin and Carolyn Bland RDH, MSDH from the Old Dominion University School of Dental Hygiene participated in the Homeless Connect Project at Scope in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. The students provided oral screenings, periodontal debridement, fluoride therapy, and oral health education to fourteen homeless members of the Hampton Roads community. The faculty supervised the students and provided additional patient care services such as periodontal assessment and referral for further dental care. Lisa Doyle, BSDH and an ODU alumna also volunteered her time and service. Through community- based service learning, the students experience the impact of the economy, the political climate and unemployment on health status and social justice in health care. Moreover, the ethical responsibility of the dental hygienist in improving the quality of health and life in vulnerable populations was encountered first hand.

Community Outreach

Old Dominion University School of Dental Hygiene is dedicated to providing health promotion and disease prevention activities to the diverse populations in Hampton Roads Communities.  Through outreach and service, students and faculty provide oral screenings, dental sealants, fluoride treatments, oral radiographs and patient education. 

Dental hygiene students provide screenings and education at various senior centers, Head Start programs, elementary schools and high schools. They also provide dental care to special needs children at St. Mary's Home for Disabled Children.  Students volunteer their time and talent to serve the Red Cross and Homeless Connect, Chesapeake Care, Mission of Mercy, public health clinics and residents of Eggleston Services.

Americian Cancer Society at ODU           


Students and Faculty from School of Dental Hygiene Provide Expertise at the Rappahannock Indian Tribe Dental Fair

Commitment to the underserved and development of cross cultural competence are valued behaviors operationalized regularly by members of the Gene W. Hirschfeld School of Dental Hygiene. Two Old Dominion University School of Dental Hygiene Faculty-Sharon C. Stull, Community Outreach Coordinator and Carolyn Bland, Adjunct Assistant Professor- traveled with nine senior dental hygiene students-Elizabeth Dorval, Lauren Fowler, Amanda Gonzales, Anh Ho, Courtney McDowell, Ashley Roe, Karen Snow, Maria Villanueva and Kyle Viloria- to the Rappahannock Indian Tribal Reservation Center to care for people who have not experienced dental care in over a decade. The School partnered with the Virginia Dental Hygienists’ Association, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry Division of Dental Hygiene and the VCU School of Gerontology at the Rappahannock Indian Tribe Dental Fair that took place October 22-23, 2011.

Faculty and students provided client assessment and triage using the latest technology in portable radiographic system and clinical dental hygiene services, collected surveillance data using the DMFT Index, and assisted with surgical tooth extractions and placement of dental restorations as needed. Improving oral health literacy was also a focus of this public health project. Through service learning, the senior dental hygiene students were able to advance their competencies as community-based practitioners and improve the health and welfare of a Native American population. To make this project sustainable, a grant is in the planning .

Dental Hygiene Students Volunteer to Treat the Dentally Underserved

In a survey conducted by Sentara Health System (2004), findings revealed that dental disease is the number one health problem of people in the Hampton Roads area. Oral health continues to be enormous unmet health need for this population. On October 1-2, 2010, the Pankey Institute and its member dentists and the Oral Health Improvement Coalition of Hampton Roads and two prominent coalition member organizations, Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center Dental Assisting Program, and Old Dominion University School of Dental Hygiene collaborated to provide dental care to the most vulnerable and underserved in our area.  In two days, a total of $146,000.00 donated dental services were provided. 
Eighteen senior dental hygiene students from the School of Dental Hygiene volunteered their time providing clinical, radiographic, and preventive oral health education services under the supervision of faculty member and Community Outreach Coordinator,  Sharon Stull. Stull is also the president of the Oral Health Improvement Coalition.  One student stated that this should be a course requirement.  Other students verbalized that they did not want to leave the event.  This project is one of the many diverse community-based service learning opportunities within School of Dental Hygiene curriculum that is transformational for students. The School of Dental Hygiene is particularly proud because there were also seven licensed dental hygienists there as volunteers; six of these dental hygienists were ODU School of Dental Hygiene alumni-- evidence that  Old Dominion University prepares hygienists capable of addressing the needs of the community, particularly the underserved. The dental hygiene students and alumni were integral to the success of this two day event, treating those who do not have a dental home or the financial means to access oral healthcare services. Some people in need also were referred to the on campus Old Dominion University David and Sofia Konikoff Dental Hygiene Care Facility for professional care.

GIVE KIDS A SMILE DAY at ODU School of Dental Hygiene



February, National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM), is designed to raise awareness of oral health. Developing optimal oral care behaviors at an early age helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Give Kids A Smile, an annual centerpiece to NCDHM, provides education, preventive and/or restorative care to low-income children.

In support of this initiative, on Feb 5, 2011, faculty and students from the Old Dominion University School of Dental Hygiene partnered with the Tidewater Dental Association to deliver preventive dental services to about 100 locally underserved children. At this event, children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tidewater and the Norview Community Center benefited from dental health education, examinations, dental x-rays and pit and fissure sealants, all free of charge. Volunteer local dentist and over 60 dental hygiene faculty and students worked together to improve the oral health of this disadvantaged and undeserved local population of children. Approximately $13,000 in free dental services was provided at the Dental Hygiene Care Facility on the campus of Old Dominion University.

This event brought together dedicated dental professionals and students to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, parents, caregivers, teachers and many others. Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good health throughout life.

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Pankey Event Sponsored by:
Dag Zapatero, Alebert Konikoff
Oral Health Improvement Coalition and School of Dental Hygiene at Old Dominon University