UAA Dental students offer clinic to gain real world experience

Published: Jan. 31, 2019 at 4:58 AM AKST
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The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development predict healthcare will be the state's fastest growing industry over the next decade.

Alaska is the highest paying state in the nation for average wages of a dental hygienist with an annual income of about $107,000, according to the

But before students graduate, many are looking for patients to offer real world experience. The University of Alaska Anchorage houses a student run dental clinic. "We do local anesthesia, we diagnose periodontal diseases, we discuss with the doctors about cavities, we do a lot of radiographs," said Amber Ewing, a Senior Dental Hygiene student.

Ewing, along with her classmates, is spending the spring semester performing dental procedures in order to graduate. "We specifically have requirements we need to meet," Ewing said.

Students say they are specifically looking for patients who haven't seen a dentist in three or more years. "We want patients with lots of tartar and build up, individuals that haven't been to the dentist in a while, maybe need a sliding scale fee and then also have time to come hang out," Ewing said. Appointments take between two and three hours each.

"Our instructors are working very closely with us and they help us throughout the steps of each appointment, verifying our findings, our diagnosis before we even start the cleaning so we're very thorough checking our work as well," Senior, Erin Walker said.

A new patient screening costs $25.00 and insurance is not a requirement to be seen at the clinic.

As a cosmetologist, Dawn Fabanich says her personal experience with needing hands on experience prompted her to begin coming to the clinic, saying "everybody needs somebody to practice on."

Because it is student operated, the clinic will be open until April 26. For information on how to book an appointment, click