Cerritos dentistry students volunteer in LA

Cerritos+College+dental+assistant+majors+volunteering+at+LA+Care+Harbor+Oct.+15.+Courtesy+of+Anne+Contreras.
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Cerritos dentistry students volunteer in LA

Cerritos College dental assistant majors volunteering at LA Care Harbor Oct. 15. Courtesy of Anne Contreras.

Cerritos College dental assistant majors volunteering at LA Care Harbor Oct. 15. Courtesy of Anne Contreras.

Cerritos College dental assistant majors volunteering at LA Care Harbor Oct. 15. Courtesy of Anne Contreras.

Cerritos College dental assistant majors volunteering at LA Care Harbor Oct. 15. Courtesy of Anne Contreras.

Carmelita Islas Mendez, Managing Editor

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Cerritos College students from dental programs on campus volunteered to provide dental care to Angelenos.The event took place at The Reef in Downtown L.A., Oct. 13-15, however students only volunteered to help for Oct. 15.

There was a mixture of students from two classes that attended the event said Anne Contreras, adjunct professor for dental assisting.

Students came from the dental assisting or dental hygiene classes that are offered on campus.

Contreras said that the event was organized to help people from low-income backgrounds or who can not afford health insurance. She said, “A lot of them stay in line for days so that they are able to be seen for a medical, vision and dental treatment.”

Students were able to not only help patients, but also have hands on experience with patients said Kendall Kaller, dental assisting major.

Students were also able to practice skills learned in class such as taking x-rays, assisting with sterilization of instruments, setting up the barriers and removing saliva from the patient’s mouth using professional equipment.

Having only practiced on themselves and instructional equipment, students were new to having live patients.

It was intimidating to be working with patients, but that there was a lot of guidance from Cerritos professors and dental surgeon said Kaller and Yeimi Graciano, another student at the event.

Graciano, dental hygienist major, said that working with patients was something new, but that it was a good experience to gain confidence.

Graciano said that though she considers herself to be a shy and awkward person, she found that working with the patients went well. She said she felt confident talking to the patients and would hold conversations with them as well.

Contreras was “amazed” at the work from students. She said, “ They are only ten weeks into [the course], I mean they are really doing well.”

Kaller said that it was intimidating working alongside dental surgeons while still being new to live patients, but that they were very helpful and encouraging.

She said, “I never felt like ‘Oh, I have no idea about what I’m supposed to be doing’ because everyone was willing to help.”

Kaller said, “I definitely think that Cerritos has an amazing program because we have top instructors who want us to succeed and it’s really fun. I love coming to school everyday. This sounds so cheesy, but it’s true because when you’re into something it makes learning really enjoyable.”

Contreras said that the dental assisting and dental hygiene programs strive to prepare students for the future. She said, “Our program really get them going for the field as far as getting a job immediately after.”

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