Why and how to get involved in community outreach programs at your dental school

To make the most of your dental education, collaborating with community outreach opportunities is essential. Get out of your comfort zone to learn about issues impacting your communities, while gaining clinical and interprofessional skills.

Treating patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities

A recent ADA Morning Huddle emphasized the importance of finding a dental home. The Orange County Register article specifically focused on patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). New this year, ASDA’s Council on Professional Issues began an initiative to regularly highlight at-risk populations for the next few months. This months’s focus is on special needs dentistry, particularly, treating IDD patients. For a better look into this population, I interviewed Katie Kline, an IDD hygienist from Orchard Park, New York.

The Council on Professional Issues presents the National Outreach Initiative

The Council on Professional Issues is excited to announce the start of the National Outreach Initiative. Outreach is a crucial component to many chapters within ASDA. Because of its importance, the Council on Professional Issues would like to bring attention towards community service. Outreach promotion has become a goal for ASDA and we will be promoting awareness for underserved populations. Promotion will occur through publications, blog posts and chapter spotlights. The goal is to educate students on these at-risk communities. The National Outreach Initiative will also include Service Week, featuring social media takeovers displaying successful outreach events.

Treating hearing-impaired patients

An unfortunate number of patients have a fear of the dentist. But imagine going to the dentist and having no warning when treatment is about to begin, not getting full explanations of what to expect during treatment, and being more sensitive than most to the vibration of a handpiece. This is a reality for many deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. Although a hearing patient may hear the handpiece and understand that work is about to begin, deaf patients lack such warning and are often taken by surprise. Deaf patients also tend to be more sensitive to vibration, so they find dental treatment to be particularly unpleasant.

While certain simple changes can be made to improve the deaf patient’s experience, technology has allowed patient care to be taken to the next level. Read on to find out more.