RCDEC At Tuskegee – Year 2

Jul 19, 2021 | News, Recent Events, Student News

Regional Collaborative Dental Education Center (RCDEC) at Tuskegee
Annual Report: Year 2 (April 2020- May 2021)

In Spring 2019, Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) received support and dental equipment from the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry (FVD) as a pilot program of RCDEC with the goal of providing veterinary dental education classes and wet labs for veterinary students and veterinary professionals.  This Year-2 Annual Report contains a summary of our small animal dental education at TUCVM as well as comments from classes of 2020 and 2021, who are among the beneficiaries of generous donations from FVD. 

  1. Condition of the Donated Equipment:

All compressors and dental units remain in a good working condition.

  1. Summary of small animal dental education at TUCVM:
  1. Small Animal Dentistry Clerkship: (4th year veterinary students, class of 2021)

With a new curriculum which started with the class of 2021, total hours in which 4th year veterinary students spend in the small animal dentistry clerkship increased by about 40%.   

  • 52 veterinary students completed the dentistry clerkship.
  • All clerkship students completed three labs: full-mouth dental radiography, cleaning/probing/charting, and regional blocks and extractions (1st premolar, incisor and upper canine)
  • All clerkship students participated in dental procedures on canine and/or feline patients.
  • All clerkship students completed conscious oral exams on dogs, cats and/or puppies, using conscious oral exam forms with tooth-by-tooth findings.  Individualized home oral care recommendation were also discussed, emphasizing products reviewed by Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).
  1. Small Animal Dentistry Elective: (4th year veterinary students, class of 2021)
  • 3 veterinary students completed this vigorous elective course despite difficulties with COVID safety measures. 
  • An online course for Veterinary Dental Education offered by University of Illinois remains pre-requisite for this elective.  Non-elective students are also strongly encouraged to complete this online course for its extended coverage and depth of information regarding small animal dentistry.  Our students also appreciated many procedural videos in the course.
  • Feline extractions were added to the competency items, reflecting feedback from class of 2020.
  1. 3rd year dental lab: (class of 2022)
  • Due to a delayed semester and COVID restrictions, this popular lab was not offered in Spring 2021. 
  • In order to compensate for that, students in class of 2022 are scheduled to complete the lab for regional blocks and extractions during the dentistry clerkship.
  1. 2nd year: Oral Pathology (class of 2023), virtual
  • Dr. Cindy Bell graciously offered 1 hour on common oral tumors for a 2nd year pathology class as guest lecturer.
  1. 1st year: Anatomy (class of 2024), virtual
  • Tooth and related anatomy was lectured for the 1st year veterinary students in Fall 2020 (1 hour).


  1. Acknowledgements of Contributors to Dental Education at Tuskegee (Year-2)
  1. Cindy Bell, DVM, DACVP at Specialty Oral Pathology for Animals. 
  2. Veterinary Dental Education, a Continuing Education online course by University of Illinois: we sincerely thank this program to be offered to our veterinary students, especially during Spring 2020 when the course fee was waived due to the pandemic. 
  3. Partners for Healthy Pets (PHP) program, Primary Care Veterinary Educators (PCVE) and Dr. Jordan Tayce at Texas A&M for Preventive Care online modules. 


  1. Comments from Classes of 2020 (1 year post graduation) and 2021 (new graduates: comments from both clerkship and elective students)
  1. Class of 2020 (1 year post graduation)
  • “I was hired as an associate veterinarian in the midst of ‘dental season’. Although I was slow initially, I had an appropriate radiographic assessment of teeth and decision making as to which teeth warranted extraction as well as my extraction technique. Over the past year I have become more efficient at my extractions, and I attribute this knowledge, skill and confidence to my time spent in the dental elective. I would hold this elective to similar standards as a dental CE offered post-graduation.” – Laurie M. Mang’eli, DVM
  • ” Graduating and beginning my career I had anxiety with transitioning from being a student surrounded by constant guidance, to practicing where the guidance has limits. When I was faced with my first dental procedure on a large mixed breed canine, I found myself confidently executing the techniques learned throughout the elective. With each slight rotation and pressure applied to my elevator, I could hear Dr. Noriko telling me to be gentle yet firm and have patience. Each dental case is unique but with the solid foundation that I built throughout the dental elective I can approach the cases systematically.” – Ariel R. Truitt, DVM 
  1. Class of 2021
  1. Dental elective students:
  • “Taking the dental elective was one of the best decisions I made while in vet school. I didn’t know that I would love teeth this much, but I always knew that it was an important part of Veterinary Medicine. Every clinic that I’ve shadowed at always had multiple dental cases each day. Now after taking the elective, I feel more confident in my dental skills as a new DVM graduate. – Tenisa Lucas”
  • “My name is Manuela Gil, and I am a 2021 Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine graduate. I have to say that the Dental elective is one the most beneficial electives that Tuskegee University offers and has been one of the electives that has most helped me prepare for my career. This course is very valuable to students because it allows us to gain highly sought-after skills that employers are always looking for. Dr. Noriko’s teaching style and hands on approach helped me gain many skills before going out into the real world. “
  1. Clerkship students:
  • Thank you for allowing us an opportunity that many of our demographic usually do not get.
  • The compressors and dental units were very helpful in teaching us how to use proper pressure and technique.
  • Thank you.  It was wonderful to use the tools I would use in practice.
  • Great instruments.  Really appreciate their donations.
  • Thank you so much.  It really aided in my learning and skills in becoming a better vet!
  • I am very appreciative.  The dental units provided allowed me to have realistic hands-on experience.  I feel more prepared to practice dentistry in the near future.
  • Appreciate the opportunity to be able to use the different instruments in a learning settings before going out to clinics after school and try to learn how everything works.
  • Very good and easy equipment to work with.  I appreciate that they are willing to donate for students to learn.
  • Thank you so much!  It means the world to us to have an organization that supports our goals!
  • Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be more confident and ready when we graduate.
  • Thank you for your contribution, it is greatly appreciated.  The dental units and compressors provided myself and colleagues the opportunity to practice dental cleaning during the lab.  The contribution was a significant supplement to our hands on learning.
  • Through your donations of the equipment, it made it possible for our rotation group to experience cleaning and extractions which is an integral part of veterinary medicine.
  • Very much appreciate the taking the time to make a lab more hands-on and tactile.  Appreciative of them thinking of us.
  • I enjoyed the hands-on experience of the dental units and being able to use them in lab before getting to a real patient.  Being able to practice and get a feel for the drill (pressure, angles) is a confidence booster going into practice.
  • Thank you!  I had never seen/performed a surgical extraction (canine tooth) so to actually have the opportunity to do it was great.

On behalf of veterinary students at TUCVM, I would like to thank Outreach Committee at FVD to help enhance veterinary dental education at Tuskegee.  We look forward to extending our teaching effort to veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals in the area and alumni population in the coming academic years.

Noriko Aoi, BVSc, MVSc
Assistant professor
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine