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Dental hygiene program to open at Baker

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published August 4, 2015

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Smile … there’s a new dental program in town.

This fall, Baker College officials will open the doors of the Clinton Township campus’s new Center for Dental Hygiene Education, which will house the new Associate of Science in dental hygiene program.

School officials renovated more than 32,600 square feet of the former “C” building to create the new hygiene education center, which features a state-of-the-art dental clinic, classrooms, a practice laboratory and 20 patient care operatories.

As a private institution, Baker College does not disclose construction budgets. The money to fund the building renovations for the new dental program came from the college’s operating fund.

According to Baker officials, the renovation is complete, minus a few pieces of dental equipment and furniture that need to be delivered. Enrollment in the dental hygiene program is limited to 36 students for each cohort.

“This is a new program for the Clinton Township location,” said Dr. Iris Lane, dean of health sciences for the Clinton Township campus. “We have 36 students that will be starting this fall. They have applied for the dental hygiene program and have been accepted into the program.”

The dental hygiene program prepares students to become dental hygienists. The program will cover oral health care assessments, head and neck anatomy, dental cleanings, cavity preventive agents, local anesthesia applications, and dental X-rays. Licensed dentists and dental hygienists will teach the courses.

Students who graduate will be prepared to pass the national and regional board examinations to become licensed dental hygienists. They then qualify for entry-level positions in private dental offices, schools, public health clinics, hospitals, correctional institutions and nursing homes.

According to Lane, dentists and other dental professionals in the Macomb County area are among the members of the dental hygiene program advisory board. They have offered guidance and input to Baker College administrators to ensure that the program curriculum is current with the technological advances and demands of the field.

Along with the academic aspect, the new dental program will offer low-cost dental services to the public beginning in early 2016. Students, under the supervision of practicing dental professionals, will gain experience by performing the services on patients.

“The patients will come in for cleaning, and X-rays will be needed,” Lane said. “The cleaning and X-rays will be low cost. We’ll start taking appointments at the end of 2015.”

Kayla Mohney, of Mount Clemens, is among the group of students accepted into the dental school this fall.

“I was one of those people who didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do,” said Mohney, who in 2013 graduated from L’Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Township and began classes at Oakland University. When the 20-year-old learned of Baker’s new dental program, she applied and was accepted. She looks forward to meeting patients and caring for them.

“I love people. I love meeting new people,” she said. “I’m really happy with my decision for going to Baker.”

For the past three years, Roseville resident Helen Sterling, 19, has worked as a dental assistant, assisting the hygienists in a dentist office. She helps out in the areas of general dentistry, periodontics and pediatrics.

“I love my patients and making them smile,” said Sterling, a 2013 East Detroit High School graduate. “I’ve had people tell me I make them feel more comfortable coming into the office.”

One way Sterling does that is by holding patients’ hands and calmly talking them through the procedure. Now she is on her way to becoming a hygienist and has even considered becoming a dentist.

For information about the dental hygiene program at Baker College of Clinton Township, contact Annette Looser in the admissions office at (586) 791-3000 or at annette.looser@baker.edu.

For more information on Baker College, visit www.baker.edu or follow Baker College on Twitter @bakercollege, or on Facebook.