Dental Hygiene Students All Pass Exam

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Dental Hygiene Student Image

Brittany Cotton is officially pinned at the Dental Hygiene Class of 2017 Pinning Ceremony on May 10.

Every one of the Dental Hygiene students at Truckee Meadows Community College passed their six-hour comprehensive National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE).

They efficiently tackled the difficult case studies and essay questions at the test center in Reno, and then a couple of weeks later traveled out of state—sometimes driving together or along with their test patients to Stockton, California. There, they successfully completed the Western Regional Examination Board (WREB). The WREB is a practical, hands-on test in a clinic that is brand new to the student.

Christina R. Hines also completed a certifying anesthesia examination so that she will be able to be licensed for anesthesia in Utah. She combines her new Associate of Science, Dental Hygiene with a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from Brigham Young University.

Hines said that the most challenging part of the written exam was the multiple choice questions. The test was grouped into sections of 100 questions.

On the other hand, Brianna R. Clancy, who already has earned two TMCC associate degrees—Associate of Science and Associate of General Studies—said that the community test let case study questions at the end were the most thought-provoking. These questions were based on individual patient profiles, their specific health history, medications and health conditions.

Alexi R. Mann agreed. She has already completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and an Associate of Science from TMCC.

“The program here is really good, it prepares us so well that you know everything—there’s not a question that I didn’t know the material, and I felt super confident going into the written examination,” she said. “We all felt competent going into the practical part of the exam.”

Hines agreed.

“The Program prepares us so well and we’ve practiced so much already in the clinic for a year-and-a-half,” she said. “The complexity of the cases increases in difficulty through the program.”

For the practical examination, they will clean a quadrant of a volunteer patient’s teeth, take X-ray films and perform clinical charting. Several examiners grade them and also check that there is no trauma to a patient’s gums.

The volunteer patients aren’t new to the hygienists. They are previous patients whom the student knows and has asked if they are willing to participate in the WREB examination.

Clancy even volunteered to be Hines’ patient for the anesthesia practical exam.

Graduates Are Looking Forward to Flexible Schedules

Mann will be doing fill-in work this fall for other hygienists who are scheduled for vacations and leaves. And she wouldn’t mind ending up working with her TMCC classmates.

“It’s a super close class, and I’d love to work with them,” she said.

Clancy also will work as a fill-in while she looks for an office in which she would fit well.

Hines is planning to jump right into full-time work.

“We’re looking forward to seeing our patients, following up with them and seeing if they’re making progress over time,” she said.

They all agree that they will miss the closeness of their cohort group.

The Class of 2017 is Devoted to Their Cohort

The three new graduating hygienists even wanted to have their common middle initial “R” included for this college news story.

“I loved my experience at TMCC,” Hines said. “TMCC focuses on quality instructors even in my prerequisites. I was also always in classes with 25-40 in my prerequisites, not 400 like at a university, and at TMCC there are 12 in your major classes. Also, you get a lot of personal attention.”

Clancy agrees.

“This program has been the best experience of my life, and most of us will be lifelong friends. I feel like our Director instills a closeness in our group and that we help each other a lot,” she said.

Mann also thanks and appreciates her professors.

“My instructors were great, so knowledgeable, kind and considerate too, and sometimes they make it a lot of fun,” she said.

For more information, contact the TMCC Dental Hygiene Program at 775-673-8247.