Dental assisting student practicing live operation with dentist and hygienist. Photo courtesy of University of Alaska Anchorage
When it comes to on-campus activities, UAA students often have things like sports and art galleries in mind. But what about, after making an appointment online, walking into Suite 131 of the Allied Health Sciences building next to Sally Monserud Hall, in the heart of the UAA campus, to get your hands cleaned? teeth ? It’s a reality thanks to the UAA Dental Clinic, run by UAA Allied Health faculty, where students practicing dentistry courses get hands-on experience on real patients.
The thought of having a college student have their teeth operated on might be off-putting to some, but the students involved hold themselves to high standards. According to the Allied Health School, the dental clinic is not only HIPAA compliant, like any private dental health service, but also maintains the highest level of infection control procedures for the safety of patients and healthcare workers. Students are also supervised and work alongside a trained and licensed dentist while on the job, as well as professionally trained hygienists and assistants, helping to minimize risk while providing insightful learning.
One advantage to making an appointment with the UAA dental clinic is the cost. A basic dental exam, for example, would cost a student $50; and fillings and restorations cost between $120 and $150. Although it may not be “cheap”; it’s a much lower cost than most clinics and an attractive option for those who might not have dental insurance. The trade-off comes from the time required due to the nature of the care, advance planning of an hour to three and a half hours of the day being recommended.
As with many other programs, some of the functions of the UAA Dental Clinic have been hampered by the current global situation. Clinic services last between September and April of the given academic year, with dental assisting services only available from March to April; although the hygiene services are involved all year round. One of its best-known programs, Dental Days, where services are open to members of the Anchorage community, was canceled in 2021; with a date for 2022 yet to be announced. Another event, Children’s Day, which takes care of children from 3 to 17 years old, is also to be announced.
If you would like to schedule your own appointment and check availability, go to the School of Allied Health page at www.uaa.alaska.edu and click on the dental clinic section. There you can see prices for services and have access to the forms you will need to fill out to book an appointment, which can be sent to email@example.com. You can direct your inquiries to this address or call them at (907) 786-6960.