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Siu Dental Hygiene Students Get Specialized Laser, Community Dentistry Certifications

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois University Carbondale students were amazed and excited as they aimed their lasers for the first time at chicken wings, carrots, tomatoes and hot dogs. The tasty treats were actually tools the senior dental hygiene students were using to earn a special laser certification.

The students, who will graduate in May, tested the intensity of the various types of lasers, using them on foodstuffs of differing textures and thicknesses to simulate what they will encounter when they treat the tissues in their future patients’ mouths. The lasers are useful in treating oral ulcers and other conditions by killing bacteria around the teeth and in the mouth to promote healing.

This is the second year SIU has offered dental hygiene students the opportunity to participate in the optional laser training for a special certification, said Jennifer S. Sherry, dental hygiene professor in the School of Health Sciences. Sherry and Stacey McKinney, assistant professor and program director for dental hygiene, coordinated the all-day laser training event. They expressed appreciation to Heartland Dental University and laser trainers Yolanda Cox, Adandra Torres-Martin, Shannon Krajczar, Ashley Greco and Jennifer Kistner as well as the Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) for sponsoring the laser event and training the students for a nominal fee.

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