Valley Focus: Fifteen Dollar Dental Work Putting Smiles on Faces at Fresno City College

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- You can get your teeth cleaned for just fifteen dollars.

The Fresno City College Dental Hygiene Clinic is offering low cost dental work while providing students with training.

Luisa Bransford, a faculty member from Fresno City College Dental Hygiene program sat down in our ABC30 studios with Valley Focus Host Liz Harrison to share more about the program.

Here is a transcript of their discussion:

Liz Harrison: So, this clinic has a lot to offer?

Luisa Bransford: Yes, it does.

Liz: Why don't you tell us about what you do there?

Luisa: We have a lot that we offer to our community. It's open to the whole community. We take patients as young as 5 years of age as long as they're compliant to be in the chair, and we take them as old as they want to be. There is no age limit for the age, if you will, for us older folks. So, we do provide cleaning teeth. And we also do what we call a deep scaling, but in most offices, they call it a deep cleaning, and that cost is just $15.

Liz: That's amazing.

Luisa: Yes, it is. And we also provide sealants, which is a type of acrylic filling, if you will. It's a white filling that we use on top of the chewing surfaces of most, in particular of children when they have their first permanent molars to protect them against decay. And now we also take full sets of X-rays. And we also take -- We can send to their doctor. If we see that there's something suspicious, we can send it to their doctor so the doctor can take care of that. And now we are now licensed to provide temporary fillings.

Liz: Wow.

Luisa: That can help those individuals who may not be able to afford to have complete restorations or complete fillings, so we put a temporary filling on that area of the tooth that will last a short time for them so that they can have a permanent one put on. So, these are just a few things that we provide for our community.

Liz: What a wonderful service for our community, but it's also great hands-on practice for your students.

Luisa: Yes, it is.

Liz: Tell me about that.

Luisa: Well, we have our students, and our classes are about 30 students per class. We have students that speak all kinds of different languages so that, again, we can reach out to people for that. And our students are supervised by us, licensed hygienists, and we also have supervising dentists, as well. And here's one of our students here, as they are working on a patient and cleaning their teeth. And our students can --They provide the care. They can only go so far. And then, we, as instructors and supervising dentists, we check their work, make sure it is done properly, for example, and once we've given them the okay, they can continue to move forward until the patient is completed with their treatment.

Liz: You know both sides of this, though, because you work in a dental office and you're also teaching these students.

Luisa: Yes, that is correct. And so, because of that, I'm able to bring to our students the feel of what it is to be like in a working practice to help them so that when they graduate, they have a nice transition into working in a dental office, yes.

Liz: What I find is fascinating, and you were telling me beforehand, that oftentimes, the dental hygienist can pick up things before the patient even knows it.

Luisa: That is true.

Liz: How is that --You said you had a woman come in that was pregnant, and you knew she was pregnant before she did?

Luisa: That's right. And so, through our curriculum,we learn tissues, what they look like, what they should feel like, the textures, the colors,if it's healthy and if it's not healthy. And so --And, also, we teach them to look for different changes in the mouth that can signify different health issues, such as pregnancy, for example, as I shared with you. Cause there are changes that happens to the gums in a lot of women when they are pregnant.

Liz: Okay. You brought some visuals here with you today. What's this all about?

Luisa: Well, this is the dentition, or the teeth of an adult. And so, if they've never had any of their teeth extracted, they'll have a total of 16 on the top. We call this portion the upper jaw. And then, they'll have 16 on the bottom. And as I mentioned to you about the sealant, you can see --I don't know if the camera can catch this, but the chewing teeth, the molars, they have these deep valleys in here. And so we like to place the sealants here to protect those areas because children often cannot brush well enough to remove the food debris and any bacteria that's there. So, with the sealant, we sort of raise the floor of the molar so that it's easier for them to brush that away. And, again, it protects that from developing any cavities so that our children can keep their teeth for as long as they can.

Liz: So, how much does this cost again?

Luisa: $15.

Liz: That's for the cleaning.

Luisa: Yes, that's for the cleaning. And we also require X-rays, as well, because we need to see what is below the gum line. So, our doctors, then, will either prescribe that we take four X-rays, which would be $5, or they would prescribe that we have to take the whole mouth of X-rays, and that can be $15. And then, we have a special one -- it's called a pano --where it goes around the face like this, and we can see the portions of the upper jaw and the lower jaw, as well. And those can be sent to their dentist.

Liz: Sounds to me like you have really the most advanced equipment of anywhere around at City College.

Luisa: That is true. We are very fortunate that our school supports our program, our community supports our program, as well, and they provide funding for us so that we're able to stay on top of different technology. When patients come to our office, there's no more paper charts. It's all electronic, just as if you were in a dental office.

Liz: That's wonderful.

Luisa: Yes.

Liz: So, anybody can come to your clinic?

Luisa: That's exactly right. We take individuals as young as 5 years old, as long as they're able to be compliant to be in a chair, and anyone is -- and we invite everyone to come.

Liz: No income restrictions.

Luisa: No income restrictions,nothing. You just have to call. And what we do, if you've never been to our clinic, we do a quick exam of the patient to see if you are able to be a teaching patient, because this is a teaching lab.

Fresno City College Dental Hygiene Clinic
(559) 244-2601
Fresno City College website
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