LCCC dental hygiene students give of themselves to help give smiles at Mission of Mercy

It can be easy to take a healthy mouth for granted. For many people though, the expense of dental care is too much to bear and the shame of an unhealthy smile is too hard to handle. That’s why students from Laramie County Community College’s dental hygiene program took part in this month’s Mission of Mercy event in Denver.

At this annual program, those who cannot afford dental care are offered the opportunity for a variety of free dental services from professionals around the region. The event is so large and involves so many people, that it actually takes place in a high school gymnasium.

The 16 students from LCCC who volunteered for the project were able to help by preparing anesthesia, providing post-operative oral surgery instructions, disinfection equipment and areas, assisting with dental hygiene and giving oral hygiene instructions. These students were fortunate enough to be able to observe oral surgery, restorative, endodontics and crown preparations.

Event organizers said the Mission of Mercy provided about $1 million worth of dental care during the two-day period.

“The dental hygiene program has led the way at LCCC in integrating service learning into many areas of their program since the program began about eight years ago,” Jeri Griego, LCCC instructor and service learning adviser, said. “They are so creative in getting their students into the community to broaden their understanding and application of the skills they learn in the classroom.”