Mesa Legend
Gum health is a point of emphasis during screenings and treatment. (Photo courtesy of Rudi Fargo of Unsplash)

MCC dental hygiene program offering free screenings

Mesa Community College dental hygiene students are administering oral health screenings on Saturday, Sept. 11 at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health while looking for patients with sensitive gums.    

Anyone is eligible for the screenings; however, only patients who qualify will be invited to return for further treatment based on the results. Treatment comes at a reduced charge when compared to other clinicians.

The dental hygiene program is seeking patients who have puffy or sensitive gums. These screenings and treatment are meant to offer experience to more advanced students and expose them to different types of oral health conditions.

“As a student, we take every opportunity we get with having a patent in our chair, to learn more, to build our skills and become better future dental hygienists,” said Rosemary Ajca, a second year dental student at MCC. 

“When they move into second year, we need to get them prepared to learn how to do some more advanced scaling and to deal with infection. A lot of gums that are bleeding and puffy, a lot of debris to remove, bone loss, teeth that might be a little loose,” said Dawn Brause, the second year clinical coordinator at MCC.

Patients will be given X-rays and a screening of the gums and conditions of the mouth by a second-year student in the dental hygiene program. All services performed by students will be overseen by a faculty member.

“Before we start, we will do an oral cancer screening. We will be using our probe, which is an instrument we use to check our pockets. We are measuring each tooth and seeing how deep it is, and depending on that, we can let them know if they are in the healthy category, or unhealthy,” said Ajca. “As for the X-rays, we are just going to be taking a full series of X-rays of their mouth, plus a panoramic.”

 Services provided on Sept. 11 are free of charge. Patients have the option of purchasing a copy of their X-rays for $20.

Based on the results of the screenings, patients may be invited back for further treatment. They will be paired with a second-year student who will be responsible for performing all services during treatment. 

“Throughout their treatment, every student has a faculty member that oversees every single thing that they do,” said Brause. “Students are working under faculty’s license.”

While no charges are made during initial screenings, further treatment to those who qualify come with fees and service charges.

“It could be anywhere from $150 to maybe $300 to do the whole mouth. In a private practice, this will cost about $1000 to $1500,” said Brause.

MCC students with valid ID who qualify could save an additional 50% on service fees and treatment.

Screenings of this kind are offered once in the fall and once in the spring. Screenings will continue to be available for the weeks following with a fee. X-rays will no longer be free, and service charges may be applied to screenings. 

Appointments can be made by calling 480-248-8195, with available times being 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m.