Monica Hospenthal has been director of the Pierce College dental hygiene program for nearly a year and, during that time, she’s been able to bring the latest technology to the program, giving students even greater access to the tools they’ll need to excel in their careers.
New to the program this year is digital radiography and other digital software for the college’s dental clinic and offices, and a computer-assisted anesthesia system for enhanced patient care.
“We’ve been able in this last year to incorporate the advanced technology needed for our graduates to be successful,” said Hospenthal. “At the same time, we’ve improved our services to patients by increasing efficiency and providing alternatives to traditional dental therapies.”
Digital radiography (or a digital X-ray) not only reduces the impact on the environment by eliminating the need for film and processing, it also exposes patients to much less radiation than traditional X-ray methods.
In addition, the new computer-assisted anesthesia system allows the hygienist to deliver the anesthetic slowly over time, which greatly increases patient comfort, said Hospenthal.
“Pierce College has had a renowned, accredited dental hygiene program for 30 years, and it’s changed in many ways since then. But, it’s great to be able to grow the program to even greater heights,” she said.
Hospenthal has been working in Pierce’s dental hygiene program since 2001, starting as an instructor before becoming site director for Eastern Washington University, which partners with Pierce’s program to provide an on-site baccalaureate option for Pierce students.
She became director of Pierce’s program in September 2007.
“I came into this position with a very strong clinical background, as well as recent experience teaching,” she said. “I believe I know the skills students need to be successful, as well as how to meet the needs of patients.”
While Pierce College’s dental hygiene program is committed to teaching students the skills needed for a successful career, it also provides the community with a lower-cost alternative for basic dental health care. The on-site clinic offers such services as:
• Comprehensive evaluation of oral health and teeth;
• Preventative teeth cleaning for both children and adults;
• Treatment for adult patients with infrequent dental care and/or periodontal disease (dependent on the extent of the disease);
• Amalgam (silver) or composite (white) fillings (dependent on severity).
Dental hygiene students are able to perform these and other critical services at a cost that is more manageable for working individuals and families, and seniors. The students practice under the guidance and expertise of the highly qualified dental hygiene faculty, and the dental hygiene clinic works with area dentists and other low-fee clinics to refer patients for additional treatment care when necessary.
To access these lower-cost services, contact the dental hygiene program at (253) 964-6694 to schedule a free screening. From there, if you are accepted for treatment in the program, a customized treatment plan will be devised and appointments will be scheduled.
Students schedule their own appointments with patients directly. Since the appointment times align with Pierce College’s academic calendar, this is a perfect time to get started, as the fall quarter begins next month.
Payment is required at the time of service. Medicaid coupons are accepted.
To schedule an appointment or to learn more about a career in dental hygiene, please call (253) 964-6694 or visit the program Web site at www.pierce.ctc.edu/Denhyg.