Free dental clinic brightens smiles for Onslow Co. students

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–October is National Dental Hygiene Month and over at one community college, some young students received free dental care for the first time in their lives.

28 students from Jacksonville Commons Elementary were visited by a special kind of tooth fairy on Friday: Coastal Carolina dental hygiene students who placed free sealants on their teeth.

“It feels really good,” Chandler Newbold, a dental assisting student at Coastal Carolina, said. “I like to know that they’re going to go home with a pretty smile and they’re going to be happy.”

Sealants are recommended for all folks up to about age 25, but especially for kids.

“Children don’t always have great brushing habits,” Elayna Cannon, dental hygiene student at Coastal Carolina, said. “They’re still learning. So we like to put those on their teeth just to help protect them and keep cavities from being rampant in their mouth.”

The majority of the students hadn’t visited dentists before.

“I was excited to get my sealants so I don’t get cavities,” Maria Canales, a fourth grader, said.

The sealants take only a few minutes each to apply.

“We clean the tooth off with what we call pumice, it’s basically like toothpaste and then we rinse and dry,” Millicent Jones, a dental hygiene student at Coastal Carolina, said. “We isolate the area then we place something called etchant, it actually makes little holes in the tooth to allow the sealant material to stick.”

That’s left on for 30 seconds, rinsed off and the tooth is dried. Then the sealant is placed and cured for 20 seconds with a special light.

The sealants will last for three to five years. Their smiles, for a lifetime.

“It’s really important for youth to get proper dental care because these are the teeth they’re going to have forever,” Jones said.

If your student wasn’t able to make it out today the clinic also offers sealants at $5 per tooth.

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