WCU Smile Camp: Helping Children Smile Brighter Since 2011

In the spirit of National Children’s Dental Health month, West Coast University held its seventh annual Smile Camp at WCU-Orange County’s Dental Hygiene Clinic on Feb. 3.

Along with oral health education and instruction, WCU’s annual Smile Camp provides no-cost dental services to all participants including screenings, cleanings, X-rays, fluoride treatments, sealants and interim therapeutic restorations. During the event, WCU bachelor of science in dental hygiene students had the opportunity teach children and their parents how to keep children’s smiles beautiful for years to come.

“I think what most of the students take away from this is the opportunity to give back to the community and working with children is always fun,” WCU-OC Dental Hygiene Clinic administrator Jo Anne Schram said.

In order to make the children feel the most comfortable, WCU students work with each child to help them understand each step of the cleaning process.

“We like to do the tell, show, do method,” Stephanie Totaan, a WCU-OC dental hygiene student, said. “First, we talk about the cleaning, then we show it to the kids. That way they’re more receptive when we actually clean their teeth.”

Although Smile Camp focuses mainly on children in the community, WCU students also enjoy learning how to work with children and getting to know their patients.

“I know children are learning a lot today, but us clinicians are still learning as well,” dental hygiene student Danielle East said. “I’m learning how to work with children, getting to know them and building rapport with them. I think it’s great that we get a day where we can educate children. When it’s all about the children, they’re more comfortable, which makes them want to come back.”

The families that participated in this year’s Smile Camp were thankful to WCU for the service they provided and glad that they’re children left with clean healthy smiles.

“We came in here and really felt like everybody cared and was very motivated,” John Lucio, who brought his son to the event, said. “This was a more pleasurable experience than going into the dentist’s office just because of the personal attention that we saw here.”

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