Career Technical Center (CTC) Dental Assisting students recently got a glimpse of their future career. Dental Assisting Instructor Candy Ryan took 16 of her Dental Assisting students to the TeamSmile event held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 11.

TeamSmile is a nonprofit organization that teams up with sports franchises to offer dental services for kids that might not otherwise have access. Students from Indianapolis Public Schools Riverside School 44 were among those invited for services.

Cleanings, fillings, extractions—whatever might be needed, the volunteer dentists, hygienists and dental assistants performed the procedures, and Ryan’s Dental Assisting students got some real-life experience by helping the professionals out.

The students did everything from sterilizing equipment and observing procedures to comforting patients and suctioning mouths while dentists worked.

“I helped with a resin and restorative procedure,” said student Robert H. “When you get in the doctor’s way, it’s a little unnerving, but it was a good experience to be that hands on.”

Gabriel C. comforted one young patient during an extraction procedure. “I liked the extraction more than I thought I would,” she said. “I realized that making sure the patient is okay is a big part of the job.”

Freddy S., who suctioned during some procedures, said, “When you are suctioning, it’s difficult to stay out of the way. You have to hold the suction as close as you can without getting in the doctor’s way and all while keeping the right position.”

Ryan could not have been prouder of her students. “They were extremely professional and did a good job.”

Moreover, she saw this as invaluable training for them. “They got to see a bunch of different dentists all at once, different personalities and different techniques. They were shown procedures they can’t see in a classroom. Essentially, they got to experience several different dental offices in one setting.”

That’s experience Ryan knows will benefit them when they enter the workplace. Upon completing the CTC Dental Assisting program, students receive a Certificate of Completion that “will allow them to start working as a dental assistant directly out of school if they wish,” Ryan said. “The only schooling that would be needed to continue as a dental assistant is … a state-approved Radiology course to achieve their license to take dental radiographs. Students may also choose to go on to a hygiene program at IUPUI or Ivy Tech. These programs take two to three years. Or they could go on to study to become a dentist.”

We’re happy that CTC Dental Assisting students had this wonderful experience at the TeamSmile event. What a great way to help other IPS students and get a real look at their future career at the same time!