Battle Ground HealthCare has partnered with the Clark College dental hygiene program to provide students with the experience of working in a clinic setting.
Battle Ground HealthCare, which expanded its dental clinic in 2021 and moved into a new location on the corner of state Route 503 and Eaton Boulevard, has been providing dental services at no cost to low-income, uninsured adults in the community since 2013.
The Clark College hygiene students will provide five, full-day clinics at the center. The students will perform 16 cleanings on each day of service for a total of 80 patients.
The need for dental service has been on the rise in recent years. Battle Ground HealthCare relies on licensed dental professionals who volunteer their time to care for patients.
“My hygiene appointments are now booked out until the first of June and that’s with the hygiene students,” dental coordinator Krista Pietila said. “Without them, I’d be booked out until July or August, so it really does help get patients in sooner.”
Students in the Clark College dental hygiene program are trained in a variety of patient interactions that range from minimal treatment to significant treatment needs. The students also complete service learning projects that put them into the community to assist patients.
Instructors are present while students perform cleanings in order to double check their work. A dentist is also present so they can help with any problems the students notice, like a broken tooth. In that case, the dentist who volunteers with Battle Ground HealthCare is able to provide a temporary filling to prevent further problems and pain, until a second appointment can be scheduled.
“The students understand about volunteering, even though this is their opportunity to learn. They also get to see the value of giving back to the community and how important that is,” Executive Director Sue Neal said. “When they work with our patients, it’s a very different population than what you see in a regular dental office for the most part because our people haven’t been in for a really long time and have so many needs.”
Battle Ground HealthCare’s dental clinic served 403 patients during 769 visits in 2022, up from 412 dental visits in 2021.
Patients who seek dental services can receive screenings and evaluations, cleanings, fillings, extractions and dentures. For more advanced work, Battle Ground HealthCare partners with other providers in the area.
With its new facility near Battle Ground Cinema, the facility can serve patients at least once a year for services like cleaning. At their previous facility, Battle Ground HealthCare was only able to see the same patients every three years due to capacity.
Along with dental care, they offer medical services like appointments, laboratory services and prescription refills. Physical rehabilitation is also offered as well as chronic pain programs, and diabetes prevention and management.
Battle Ground HealthCare is located at 1910 SW Ninth Ave. in Battle Ground.
Before making an appointment, people can check online to see if they meet the criteria at bg healthcare.org. Services are available by appointment. To set up an appointment, call 360-687-8941.
1 comment on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here
A great service they are doing for the community! And excellent experience for the dental hygiene students.
Thursday, March 2 Report this