Demonstrate how you contributed to the event, learning experience, compare and contrast
each event, and areas of strengths and weaknesses of both the student and the event.
On January 25th, 2010 I volunteered at Walteria Elementary School in Torrance,
California by providing oral screenings for the children in kindergarten thru 4th grade.
The event lasted four hours. I performed intraoral and extraoral examinations. I used my
loupes with a light as the light source and examined the intraoral cavity with a tongue
blade. I screened for extra and intraoral lesions, dental infections on the gingival tissue,
inflamed tonsils, and visible dental decay. Many children had oral lesions. I detected
what seemed to be aphthous ulcers and herpetic gingivostomatitis. Due to the cold
weather at this time of the year many children presented to the oral screening with dry,
chapped, and cracked lips. I advised the children to ask their parents to purchase a lip
balm (such as Blistex or Chap-stick) for them. I asked the children if the inside of their
mouth hurt and they all said no. Some children said it did not hurt anymore. I also asked
them if their parents had seen what was in their mouths (referring to the oral lesions) and
they answered no. I advised the children to have one of their parents look inside their
mouth and maybe have a dentist or a doctor take a look too. A small number of children
also presented to the oral screening with possible carious lesions.
At this event I learned that parents seem to avoid inspecting the mouths of their children.
I saw a lot of oral lesions that may possibly need further evaluation by a dentist or a
physician. Unfortunately I was unable to refer the children with oral lesions to the school
nurse. The event supervisor asked me to refrain from doing so. I have attended other
oral screenings at elementary schools at which that was the procedure. I found it to be a
weakness of the event. An area of strength of the event was that all the children received
a toothbrush for their participation in the event. The children also received oral hygiene
instructions while they waited for their turn to be screened. An area of strength for me as
a screener at the event was taking my time to thoroughly screen the children. I took time
to talk to the children and ask them questions about their oral hygiene habits and findings
in their oral cavity. The area of weakness for me was the inability to send the children
with oral lesions to the school nurse and to inform their parents. I felt helpless in this
area. I had to follow the screening rules.
On February 6th, 2010 I volunteered at a second community service event. I participated
in “Give Kids A Smile” event held by UCLA School of Dentistry at a dental clinic in
Venice, California. I volunteered at this eight hour event and provided children with
dental hygiene services, dental sealants, topical fluoride application, and I assisted the
student dentist in performing oral exams. I also cleaned, disinfected, and prepared the
dental operatory for patient care. I reviewed oral hygiene instructions with both the child
patient and their parent. Restorative dental treatment was completed by dental students.
The children were very cooperative and were able to sit through the dental treatment
provided by myself as a dental hygiene student and by the dental student. I did not see
any children with oral lesions. I did see a few patients with a mixed dentition in
combination with maloclussion. Only a limited number of children came to the event
because there was a chance of rain that day. Dental assistants, dental hygiene students,
dental students, instructors, faculty, staff, and general volunteers were present at this
This event was a learning experience for me. Some of the patients were toddlers and
needed reassurance in order to be treated. I had to use language that the children
understood and felt comfortable with. One of my strengths at the event was exhibiting
patience and compassion with both the children and their parent. Since I speak Spanish I
was able to translate for others who did not speak Spanish. An area of strength was the
ability to help with patient and dental provider communication. An area of strength for
the event was the capability of dental care providers to provide patients with preventive
and restorative services. The children and their parents both received oral care education.
There was also entertainment for the children which included face painting and balloons.
I did not recognize a weakness of the event or of myself. I kept busy all the time by
assisting, translating, or providing care to the patients.
Event Comparisons: Both events for which I volunteered had children as the patients.
Oral hygiene instructions were reviewed with the children at both events. The children
received a toothbrush at both events. Both events were geared at improving the oral
health of children by either treating the patient on site (UCLA event) or by a referral
system (oral screening event). Children lacking dental insurance participated at both
Event Contrasts: A more thorough oral and radiographic examination was provided for
the patients at the UCLA event and only a limited exam was provided for the children at
the oral screening event. Spanish language translation was needed only at the UCLA
event. Parents were present at the UCLA event only. The oral screening event was held
for 4 hours as compared to the UCLA event which was 8 hours long. Oral lesions were
present on some patients at the oral screening event and none were found at the UCLA