The Essex County Dental Society hosted the event, called 'Operation Smile,' at St. Clair's Dental Clinic. The event was designed to promote oral health in the community and provide basic restorative and surgical services for those people who might not otherwise have access to those services.
Dr. Ken Blanchette, Chair of St. Clair's School of Health Sciences, said some patients received procedures, such as new dentures, that will change their life for the better – and they were overjoyed and appreciative.
"Some of our students were even brought to tears because they were so touched by the reception and gratitude shown from some of these patients," said Dr. Blanchette. "This event was incredible."
About 50 patients were treated by 25 area dentists during the event, and about 70 students and 15 faculty helped facilitate the initiative.
"The dentists were kind enough to use all our students to assist them with this instead of their own staff, so it's been a great learning experience for them," said Dr. Blanchette. "Our Dental Hygiene students have been preselecting these patients and cleaning them all semester and now the dentists here today are being assisted by our Dental Assisting students, so both programs have benefitted from this."
Dr. David Mady, one of the dentists who participated in the event, said it was nice to work with St. Clair's Dental students to provide the much-needed care to the patients involved.
"The students are phenomenal. They've been trained really well," said Dr. Mady. "They prepared these patients so well. They took the time to prepare meticulous treatment plans, they have X-rays and digital radiographs ready for us and this dental clinic has all the equipment we need."
The St. Clair College Dental Clinic operates September to the mid-June for dental assessments and dental hygiene care. The restorative clinics (for fillings) are limited and run February to mid-June. 'Operation Smile' was a great opportunity for the College Dental students to gain experience with a variety of procedures.
Essex County Dental Society President, Dr. Matthew Duronio, said it was something he was thrilled to be part of.
"This initiative is an important step in the promotion of good oral health care in our community," said Dr. Duronio. "These services may be outside the reach of some people and the Dental Society wanted the chance to assist them."
The event was sponsored by Green Shield Canada, Patterson Dental and 3M. Executive Director of the Green Shield Canada Foundation, Sarah Saso said this is the type of event the Foundation likes to support.
"Where there are gaps in the provision of health care, we feel it's important to help narrow those gaps by providing support for frontline care to organizations in communities where GSC operates," said Saso. "We are pleased to support The Essex County Dental Society on their Operation Smile event and applaud the efforts of the dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and administrative support all of those who volunteered their time to ensure that individuals who have been referred to Operation Smile receive much needed dental care."