Dental Science II Students Begin The Real Dental Experience Sophomores engage in the full, hands-on learning experience through working in the lab

Speaking to students, Dental Assisting teacher Kirsten Winfield talks about the rules of working in the lab. Students listened to the rules they must follow for their safety as well as others in the lab. “I absolutely miss working with kids in the labs because it's reiterating what they’ve learned,” Winfield said. “We’re taking that theory we learned and we talked about last year, and actually applying it to real life circumstances.” Photo Credit: Daphney Garcia Hatton
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In Dental Science II, students have started to gain insight on the action-based part of their program by working in the labs to gain real work life experience. 

“I’m excited to work in the lab because I’ll develop more skills on how to be a dental assistant,” sophomore Madison Davis said. “I learn best by participating in labs since I’m able to apply what I’ve been learning in real life.”

Before sophomores participate hands-on, they must be aware of the ground rules. 

“The most important thing is to have common sense, and practice proper personal protective equipment protocol,” Dental Science program teacher Kirsten Winfield said. “My number one priority is keeping my students safe, but I am super excited about being back in the lab.”

Part of the reason for ensuring all students understand the expectations for the lab is to help them feel more comfortable in a new environment.

“I think the safety guidelines are good because it teaches us how to be in a real dental environment, keeps us safe from the dangers, and it helps us get our work done in an effective, timely manner,” sophomore Joshua Spencer said. “I feel more comfortable with the rules, rather than us trying to figure it out on our own because it gives us a good outline on how to assess different matters, whether it’s cleaning up a mess, or if my team and I cannot figure something out.”

One of the first labs that the students will complete is the coronal polishing activity.

“I really look forward to the coronal polishing lab because the students actually work on one another, and are going to be polishing each other’s teeth, and applying varnish to each other’s teeth,” Winfield said. “That’s a real life skill they can put on their resume, and I’m really looking forward to impressions, and pouring out impressions.”

With all of the upcoming activities, many students are anxious to work on models and classmates.

“I actually get to practice on a typodont [oral cavity model] before I practice on an actual patient, which makes me less nervous,” Spencer said. “Going into someone’s mouth with dental instruments makes me a bit anxious, so this gives me something to prepare.”

Winfield is excited to finally allow students to actively participate together.

“I love being able to show my students what it is like to work in a real life dental office setting,” Winfield said. “It’s going to give them the most accurate description and knowledge of actually moving towards the dental field, or experiencing the dental field.”

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