The camp provides students interested in a dentistry-related career the chance to learn more about the what various dental team members?from auxiliaries to general dentists and specialists?do in day-to-day practice. Most of the students said they are already considering jobs in dentistry and the camp offered an early chance for them to try their hand at the trade.
During most of the first day, students rotated through hands-on clinical activities, including the "drilling and filling" station, working with typodonts and phantom heads. On the morning of the second day, students job-shadowed at dental offices in the area.
Listen to 17-year old participant Karsten Schelasin's enthusiasm when he describes getting to "perform" a root canal.
Igniting the passion of these young participants has a serious side. The need for increased access to dental care in is great, according to James Koelbl, dean of UNE?s College of Dental Medicine, scheduled to open in the fall of 2013. There are only 675 licensed dentists practicing in Maine?approximately one for every 2,000 or so people?and many are nearing retirement. Also, dental issues are a leading cause of emergency room visits in Maine, and the lack of preventive care, especially in some of the more sparsely populated parts of the state, is linked to other health issues like heart disease.
Paul S. Schonewolf of Time Warner Cable, one of the camp's corporate sponsors, summed it up nicely: ?UNE?s dental camp is a great way for young people to discover their potential for careers in science and technology as well as help address an issue of critical importance?the acute shortage of dentists.?
We all know these problems are not unique to Maine and New England. Hopefully other dental schools will adopt this model.
Sounds like a blast, too. I've always wanted to suture a raw chicken breast.