Dental workshop opens wide possibilities

(Edmonton) On May 3, dentistry and dental hygiene students at the University of Alberta played host to about 20 Aboriginal students in grades 6 and 7 from Meskanahk Ka-Nipa-Wit (Montana) School and Mother Earth's Children's Charter School.

Students set up stations in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s simulator lab to demonstrate to the kids the different areas of dentistry and dental hygiene. Stations included waxing and molds, brushing and flossing, composite fillings, polishing and amalgam preps.

“One of the kids prepping an amalgam was a natural,” said Tasha Chrbet, second-year dentistry student. “He was so focused and diligent with his movement it was like he had done this before.”

The workshop was part of a five-day camp put on in partnership with the Hope Foundation of Alberta. The camp is an opportunity for kids who would not otherwise get the chance to visit a university setting and explore career opportunities. Chemistry, nursing and medicine were also part of the day camp.

“Some of these kids never leave the reserve,” said Victor Tang, a teacher at Mother Earth’s School. “From this experience, we help them identify who they are and what they want to do.”

“I had a great time helping out today,” said Angela Park, a graduate student in dental hygiene. “I am proud to say that I am part of a faculty that is so well connected to society, that gives back to its community.”

David Kelner, a faculty member in the School of Dentistry who led the initiative, was on hand to answer questions and to guide the students in the learning experience.