Blinn’s dental hygiene program offers dental services to the public for $20 at its clinic in Bryan.
The Blinn College Dental Hygiene Clinic, located at 301 Post Office St., offers a variety of services including oral examination, dental cleanings and fluoride treatments. The clinic is part of the two-year program that students must complete to receive an Associate in Applied Science degree. These students are eligible to apply to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as a regional and state clinical board examinations.
The clinic recommends that people interested in being treated come in for a free screening done by the on-site dentist to assess what procedures or treatment may be necessary. There are first and second-year cohorts who will take the patients based on the difficulty of the procedure, said Director of the Dental Hygiene program Lisa Wiese.
“We screen all the patients so that someone who is in the first year cohorts does not get patient that’s too hard for them,” Weise said. “We give them the appropriate patient for them.”
Every appointment is closely supervised by instructors at the clinic to evaluate the student’s progress and make sure they are completing every step correctly, dental hygiene instructor Laurie Rowland said. This process can cause appointments to last up to four hours at a time, depending on the procedure.
“It’s kind of a trade-off of your time for a lot less money, and you’re getting really good quality care,” Rowland said. “It just takes a lot longer than what people are typically used to.”
While screenings are free, if a patient decides to continue treatment, each treatment plan is only $20, even if there are multiple appointments required for a treatment plan. Wiese said the clinic is inexpensive because the students are not licensed hygienists yet and the experience helps them learn hands-on.
“We’ve got a very loyal patient base, but we’re always needing new patients to come in because we’re always needing different experiences,” Rowland said. “We also need patients that are a variety of difficulty.’’
All ages are welcome at the clinic, which also hosts the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile program every April. This program offers free dental services for children in the Brazos Valley. Chairman and recent graduate Emily Nicely said that Give Kids a Smile program gave students an opportunity to care for children, who aren't usually taken to the clinic because of school hours.
“Give Kids a Smile gives us a huge chance to see anywhere from like two year olds to teenagers so that really helps widen our age variety,” Nicely said.
Nicely said that because the clinic only charged $20, they were able to help people that wouldn't have gotten dental work done elsewhere.
“It was cool to see how big of a difference we could make for certain families that would come through our doors,” Nicely said.
The clinic is open this fall from Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Those interested in scheduling an appointment or receiving more information can call 979-209-7283.
“It’s fully supported by the community,” Wiese said. “And they help our students get to where they need to be so that they can pass their licensing examinations.”