Addition of hygienist provides more openings for dental care
October 17, 2023
October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and the Northern Neck – Middlesex Free Health Clinic is celebrating by recognizing Antonia Kimble, registered dental hygienist, who joined the Dental Clinic staff in September 2023, and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry dental hygiene students who rotate through the Dental Clinic.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association established National Dental Hygiene Month in 2009 to promote good oral health and celebrate the dedication of dental hygienists across the country. Dental hygienists are licensed preventive oral health professionals who provide educational, clinical, and therapeutic services that support total health by promoting optimal oral health.
Although most dental hygienists are employed in private practice dental offices, the public health/free clinic setting offers satisfying interaction with patients and fulfills significant unmet needs for those individuals who are unable to seek care in the private sector.
“I chose NNMFHC as a practice setting to be able to use my skills to the fullest and deliver needed care to patients,” said Kimble. “The patients are open to education and learning how to improve their health.”.
This year’s theme is “Everyday Extraordinary,” and the NNMFHC has seen extraordinary results in just a one-month period as a result of employing Ms. Kimble. Adding a full-time dental hygienist to the staff has allowed the Dental Clinic to schedule an additional 128 patients in September for preventive oral health services, and provided VCU School of Dentistry students with more available appointments for fillings and other restorative dental services, as well as beginning to reduce lengthy wait times for appointments.
The new dental hygiene position at NNMFHC is supported by grant funding provided by the Virginia Health Care Foundation. The Dental Clinic has added Mondays as patient treatment days, and appointments are now available at 5 and 6 pm Monday – Thursday to accommodate work schedules. VCU senior dental and dental hygiene students provide patient care under the supervision of the staff dentist Wednesdays through Fridays and play a crucial role in meeting the oral needs of patients.