Campus dental clinic helps students brush up on oral health

By Gus Bode

October may bring discounts on bulk bags of candy, but students should spend their extra cash on a dental checkup, Carolyn Ihle said.

Ihle is a dental hygienist who works in the Student Health Center’s dental clinic, which offers routine and emergency dental care from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, making it the perfect time to invest in a healthy mouth, said Jean Connor, president of the American Dental Hygienist’s Association.


“If you keep on a regular schedule of getting your teeth examined and cleaned, you’re going to save a whole lot of money later,” Connor said. “You’ll be spending more money on fixing problems if you don’t do the prevention in the beginning.”

In addition to a hygienist, the student dental clinic also employs two dentists and four dental assistants. Ihle said one dentist generally performs routine procedures while another covers emergency dental care.

Emergency appointments are generally booked a day in advance, but walk-ins are also accepted, Ihle said.

There is a $6 front door fee, but additional charges exist for many services. Students can request those charges be placed on their bursar bills, Ihle said.

She said students receive a complete exam and treatment plan, which lists any additional services that may be necessary. Ihle said students must sign off on the plan before proceeding. This procedure helps keep students from being confused about what services will be included on their bills, Ihle said.

The clinic offers services related to fillings, bridges, dentures, partials, root canals, teeth whitening and cleaning in addition to emergency procedures, Ihle said.

Rae Hill, a sophomore from Joliet studying mechanical engineering, said she had never visited the dental clinic. She said she heard rumors about what services the dental clinic offers and how much its procedures cost.


“I would consider going there once I know a little bit more about it,” Hill said.

Ihle said the dental clinic has been more convenient for students since the facility moved to its location in February 2006.

However, students also benefited when they gained an on-staff hygienist. Ihle, who worked as a dental assistant in the dental clinic since 1984, decided to return to school when the clinic moved.

“I knew we were building a new building and I knew we were expanding, so I wanted to expand myself,” Ihle said.

Ihle has worked as a hygienist and office manager in the clinic since she graduated from the dental hygiene program at John A. Logan College in 2005.

Connor said college students have special reason to be concerned about dental hygiene.

“When you graduate from school, if you’re planning on going out for job interviews and trying to get the job that you want, you have to put your best face forward,” Connor said. “If your teeth are not in good shape, it shows what you really feel about the rest of you.”

Daily Egyptian reporter Allison Petty can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 259 or [email protected].

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