Jackson College launches first-ever dental hygienist program

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — There’s a lot to smile about on a mid-Michigan college campus as officials prepare to open a new dental hygiene program.

6 News got a close look at the program that’s set to benefit both students and the community.

The chairs and tools are ready; all Jackson College needs for its new dental clinic is students.

“The students will reap the benefits of this state of the art clinic,” said dental hygiene program director Patricia Guenther.

The college just launched its first-ever dental hygiene program.

Guenther says right now local students have to travel long distances to be trained as dental hygienists.

She says it’s a growing field that Jackson College wants to be a part of.

“Between 2015 and 2020, there’s going to be a growth projection of about 7 percent statewide and locally, and 19 percent nationally for the dental hygiene profession,” Guenther said.

Students will learn the latest in dental care by working on dental dummies.

But they’ll also learn how to help real people, too, when the clinic opens its doors to the community.

Guenther says the clinic will provide the basic dental care you’d find at any dentist’s office.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to appeal to people who maybe don’t have dental insurance. They will be able to take advantage of really reduced fees that we’ll provide here at the college,” Guenther said.

The program still needs to be reviewed by the American Dental Association before classes can start.

A site visit is happening next month, and a final decision is expected in February.

Once that is cleared, Guenther says we’ll start to see students cleaning teeth in fall 2018.

“I have been inundated with interested students. Unfortunately, we’ll only have ten seats available. I’ve already had 40-50 people contacting me thus far,” Guenther said.

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