04 Aug Airo AV Declare: MCC dental assisting program clears path into in-demand
LOWELL — In April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics declared dental assisting among the fastest growing professions in the U.S.
In a recent press release from Middlesex Community College, Dr. Geraldine Garcia-Rogers — or Dr. Gigi — of Sugarbug Dental Suite in Chelmsford, said now is a good time to pursue a career in dental assisting due to the national shortage and dental offices competing for availability.
“By joining the dental team, you can make a difference in how people perceive their oral health,” Garcia-Rogers said in the release. “Not only will you help create beautiful smiles, but you will also be instrumental in helping prevent dental disease.”
At MCC, students in the dental assisting program can earn an associate degree or certificate to gain the knowledge and skills needed to assist chairside in a dental office.
MCC’s program features hands-on experience working in an active dental assisting clinic, which is currently being renovated. Students are also prepared for the Dental Assisting National Board exam.
The college’s updated clinic features new state-of-the-art equipment, including CAD/CAM for students to practice taking digital impressions and assisting in design of appliances.
According to Mary Jenny, MCC’s associate professor and coordinator of the dental assisting program, MCC is the only program in Massachusetts — and one of a few in the country — to offer this advanced technology.
In addition to practical experience in MCC’s clinic, students also participate in externships.
Students choose two general practice and two specialties — including pedodontics, orthodontics, oral surgery, periodontics and prosthodontics — to receive a wide range of experiences.
“Dental Assistants are always in-demand, even during an economic recession as dentists cannot work without their assistants,” Jenny said in the release. “We work closely with the dental community. That is how every year almost all of our students each get three to four job offers even before they graduate as we have over 60 affiliated dental clinics for externships.”
For student Gertrude Namulindwa, it’s the difference a dental assistant can make in the life of a patient that inspires her to pursue the profession.
This inspiration comes from when Namulindwa was living in Uganda, where she has a background in dentistry.
According to the release, Namulindwa is also interested in pediatric dentistry because she witnesses the difference she makes in helping children gain confidence when they have a nice smile and healthy set of teeth.
She said MCC’s program was challenging but pushed her and other students to perform at a high level.
“It’s the best decision I ever made,” Namulindwa said in the release. “I tell everyone if you want to go to school, go to Middlesex. I’ve had the best experience. Middlesex is like a family. I wasn’t bored and I didn’t feel alone.”
For more information on MCC’s dental assisting program, contact Mary Jenny at [email protected] or 978-656-3060.