“Do you want watermelon?” Jennie Jones asked Jahmari as Amber Nester gently stroked his hand. Jones then used a tiny brush to paint a watermelon-flavored flouride varnish on Jahmari’s teeth.
Nester and Jones, pictured at left giving Jahmari’s teeth a good brushing during his check-up, were among 37 senior dental hygiene students from Old Dominion University who spent today at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children providing clinical services to children and young adults who live here.
While St. Mary’s residents are regularly seen by a dentist who comes to the Home, the annual ODU clinic is a way for students in Carleen Lynch’s community oral health class to get practical experience. “This provides them the opportunity to have contact with a population they normally don’t often see in private practice,” said Lynch, an assistant professor at ODU’s School of Dental Hygiene.
Dr. Cordell Johns, a dentist and ODU faculty member who accompanied the students to the Home, said he hopes the field trip also inspires students to come back as volunteers.
“The staff here are absolutely fabulous,” Johns added. “They have a lot of love” for the children.