SANFORD - It's been nearly nine years since Central Carolina Community College graduated its first Dental Assisting class of nine students.
Ninety-nine students have now completed the program. "Dental assistants are the backbone of every dental practice and they provide quality oral health care in partnership with the dentist," said Lisa Baker Godfrey, CCCC Dean of Health Sciences.
March 6-12 is recognized as Dental Assistants Recognition Week.
Linda Jacobs and Carol Thompson are among the graduates of the Central Carolina Community College Dental Assisting program. They are now working at the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine Community Service Learning Center in Lillington.
Jacobs, who graduated from CCCC in 2014, said her experience at CCCC was great. "Not only do you learn the essentials of being a dental assistant, they also teach you to do good things for the community by getting you involved in many community activities," said Jacobs.
Thompson, a 2013 graduate, said she decided to attend the CCCC program because it offered a smaller class size than other Dental Assisting programs. "My favorite memory with CCCC's Dental Assisting program is when we were given the opportunity to volunteer on the mobile dental units," said Thompson. "It was incredibly rewarding to be able to help in the community."
Vicky Wesner, CCCC Dental Programs Director, had praise for both of these graduates.
"Carol was an inspiration to our Dental Assisting program," said Wesner. "She has the soul of a volunteer and participated in a number of community events, such as the Baptist Men's Dental Bus. As a result, she was awarded the Community Dental Award at the class pinning ceremony for her selfless efforts.
"Linda also has a heart for community service," said Wesner. "I remember spending a very long day with her working at a snack bar at a professional golf event to raise funds for her class. Despite the high heat and long walking distance, she kept her always-funny attitude the entire day."
Yaveshia Buie, a 2015 CCCC Dental Assisting graduate, is now a pediatric dental assistant with Southern Smiles Pediatric Dentistry.
"My experience with CCCC's Dental Assisting program was great. My instructors were very knowledgeable and helped the students in any way that they could," said Buie. "My most memorable experience with the Dental Assisting program would be my internship. I met some really amazing people and learned things that will benefit me throughout my dental career. Anyone who is thinking about being a dental assistant, I would say go for it. It is a rewarding career with a variety of different fields to work in."
Those who graduate from the CCCC Dental Assisting program will be able to perform chair-side procedures of four-handed dentistry; sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment and prepare tray setups for dental procedures; instruct patients on postoperative and general oral health care; and maintain clinical and financial records, patient scheduling, and supply and inventory control.
Bethzaida Miranda Sanchez, a current student, says that it has been an amazing and interesting journey. "The staff in the dental program are awesome and very knowledgeable in their teaching, like Dr. Fernanda Perry," said Sanchez. "The education from the program has provided me with the opportunity to take what I have learned and use it in the field for hands-on experience in dental office at High House Pediatric Dentistry in Cary as well as Southern Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Cameron."
Godfrey notes that the CCCC Dental Assisting program is the perfect opportunity for students to receive an education that allows them to be an integral part of the dental team and is able to be completed in less than one year. "The dental assisting profession provides graduates the unique opportunity to perform a variety of tasks from direct patient care to laboratory and office duties," said Godfrey.
"I am incredibly proud of the difference that our CCCC Dental Assisting graduates make in our community from serving in community centers to volunteering their time locally and abroad on mission trips," said Godfrey. "CCCC Dental Assisting graduates truly are making a difference in the oral health of our community."
For more information on the CCCC Dental Assisting program, visit the website www.cccc.edu/dental/assisting, or contact Daniel Berndt, CCCC Dental Programs Admissions Counselor, at email@example.com or at 919-718-7234.
Carol Thompson and Linda Jacobs are among the graduates of the Central Carolina Community College Dental Assisting program. They are now working at the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine Community Service Learning Center in Lillington. For more information on the CCCC Dental Assisting program, visit www.cccc.edu/dental/assisting.