Sandra Curran – Dental Hygiene – PCC – MM262 class project

Sandra Curran – Dental Hygiene – PCC – MM262 class project


SANDY CURREN: My
name is Sandy Curren, and I am the first year lead
instructor of the dental hygiene program at Portland
Community College as well as the clinic coordinator
for Portland Community College. What interested me
personally in dental hygiene was just a love of teeth. I just think teeth are important. I was afraid of the
dentist, but I loved having my teeth look better and not hurt. I was really nervous, and I
didn’t have regular dental care. Actually, I went to the
dentist once as a third grader and had a tooth pulled which
was extremely traumatic. And I never went back until I
was a senior in high school. And at that time, I spent
every Saturday for many months in the dental chair
getting lots and lots of work done because our
family had no dental care. The hygienist today, they have
the ability to go into areas and help service people who
don’t have access to dental care much like I was as a child. But even more so today because
there are so many people in Oregon and across the nation that
don’t have that access. So it’s wonderful that Portland
Community College provides this kind of
preparation for students in providing care for people of
limited access to dental care. I loved the science of dentistry. A lot of my students come to our
programs for the same reason. They love the science. They love the kind of work. They love the fine motor
skills that it takes. They love caring for patients. Those scrapy things. No, we don’t call
it “scrapy things.” They’re called scalers. They’re instruments. They’re not tools,
they’re instruments. The different instruments
that hygienists use, they all have different funny names– Gracey’s Universal Sickle
Scalers, probes, explores. Those are general instruments. We also have Cavitrons,
or ultrasonic scalers. So much of what goes on in
our own mouths, we can’t tell. We don’t know. And even the tiniest little change
is a big thing in the mouth. So you need someone
to look in there. You need to have someone look and
tell you what’s going on in there. And that’s what the
dental hygienist does, is they look and they
inform the patients. And the simple things that
are done is number one, making sure everybody’s
brushing their teeth. Everyone brushes their teeth. But what they don’t
realize is that it’s a very technique sensitive skill. One way of brushing your teeth
doesn’t work for everyone. So we all need to be coached on what
is the best way that I need to do that for my mouth . And that’s very simple, isn’t it? It is, it’s very simple. And then, of course,
brushing only addresses 60% of the tooth surfaces. So that leaves 40% more of the
tooth surfaces that are not being addressed by brushing. That’s where flossing comes in. So there’s a lot of
different things– just the simple things,
brushing and flossing. When they’re done
correctly, wonderful. But the other factor is we do need
to have regular checkups to watch when [INAUDIBLE] there’s changes. Changes down that
slippery slope from health to disease, so that we
can catch things early and stop them right there. And a hygienist can do that. Normally, people don’t come to
the dentist until they’re in pain, and at that point, it’s
very, very late in the game. The disease doesn’t hurt
until it’s become acute. And most people deal with
chronic disease in their mouth. And so the high hygienist can help
intervene and stop that decline.

Author: Kevin Mason

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