Regional Collaborative Dental Education Center (RCDEC) at Tuskegee

Jun 9, 2020 | News, Recent Events, Student News

1st year Annual Report (April 2019- May 2020)

In Spring 2019, Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) received support and dental equipment from the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry as a pilot program of RCDEC with the goal of providing veterinary dental education classes and wet-labs for veterinary students and veterinary professionals. What is the RCDEC Program?

Tuskegee CVM was able to have a virtual Oath Ceremony for Class of 2020 on May 2, 2020 which included 16 dental elective students.

Below is an abbreviated summary of the first-year status of the dental program at TUCVM.

1.    Summary of the hands-on dental education at TUCVM (2019-2020)

Veterinary students received introductory dentistry education in the following course/rotation and completed items listed.

A)    Junior (3rd year) surgery dental lab 3-29-2019:
          All 56 third-year veterinary students (class of 2020) participated
          Lab activities included oral examination, regional blocks, probing, charting, and
          extraction of upper 1st premolars, central incisors and upper canines
B)    Dental sub-rotation: All 56 fourth-year students took part in the following activities:
          Oral examination, cleaning (supra-gingival, sub-gingival, and polishing), probing and
          charting (approximately 15-20 students.)
          Dental radiography
          Oral ATP procedures on patients
          Awake oral examination (adult dog, adult cat, puppy +/- kitten)
          Review on AAHA dental guideline
          Review on JAVMA Anesthesia Case of the Month
C)    Dentistry elective course (2 credit hours): fall and spring semesters
          9 students in fall, 7 students in spring
          Dental radiography (full-mouth, pre- and post-extractions)
          Awake oral examination (5 pathological cases)
          3 cleaning, probing and charting (patients)
          Regional blocks
          Extractions of incisors, premolars, canines, premolars and molars at competent level
          Periodontal therapy
          Client communication on dental diseases
          Review on AAHA guidelines: dental, pain management and anesthesia

2.    Dental education outreach activity

Inaugural RCDEC dental lab was scheduled for March 21, 2020, as a part of 55th Tuskegee Annual Veterinary Medical Symposium, which was a 75th diamond anniversary of TUCVM. As many other conventions and meetings, our symposium was also cancelled due to COVID 19 pandemic, and so was the dental lab.  We plan to host this CE at same venue with the same topic on feline extraction at next CVM symposium in March 2021.
    We consider additional CE course for veterinary technicians during next academic year to compensate our CE obligation of 2019-2020, depending on the situation of the pandemic.  There was no income generated through the outreach activity for the academic year of 2019-2020.

3.    COVID 19

Our university shifted to all-virtual classes from March 23, 2020 (with extended Spring break from March 16-22, 2020), which mandated all dental labs be discontinued, including the dental CE lab, dental electives, and junior surgery dental extraction lab.  Veterinary students will not be on campus at least until August 2020.
Current solution:
Students in class of 2020 and 2021 were encouraged to complete online dental education modules from University of Illinois, if not completed in the past, as well as those from Texas A&M to gain knowledge in small animal dentistry.  Both courses were graciously offered during the pandemic at no charge to the students.  The modules from University of Illinois remain as pre-requisite for the dental elective course at TUCVM, and modules from Texas A&M provided extra points for dental elective students in class of 2020.

4.    Future Plans

With the solutions to challenges listed above, we plan to strengthen and raise quality of the existing hands-on dental labs and increase exposure to patient dental procedures for the 4th year students (elective and rotation) in 2020-2021.  We will also discuss how we can reach out to the 1st and 2nd year students who only receive didactics and no hands-on dental lab at this time so that we can introduce the lab in the academic year of 2022-2023.  We will continue to monitor the situation of the pandemic and host the inaugural dental CE at our annual symposium as originally scheduled, following the guidelines and decisions of TUCVM.  As we could not fulfill the annual CE requirement this academic year due to the pandemic, we kindly request the extension of the CE requirement for 1 year, which extends it one year beyond the original proposal till 2025.

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

(A special expression of gratitude goes to Ron Anderson, Dentalaire, for his continued generosity to the Foundations’ veterinary dentistry program overall and the Tuskegee RCDEC in particular.  Thank you, Ron!!)


Feedback from Class of 2019 (One-year post graduation)

(see additional Feedback from Dental Elective Students of 2019 and 2020)

1.    When I started working as a veterinarian, almost a year ago, one thing I felt the most prepared for was my dentistry education. And that was thanks to Dr. Noriko Aoi and her dental elective, where students like me had the opportunity to not only learn the basics of dental cleanings and extractions on paper, but we were lucky enough to use new instruments and equipment to perform these procedures. In my first week working at a small animal clinic in Florida, I had my first dental procedure which required a few extractions and one of them was a surgical flap. I remember that the other veterinarian working that day told me that if I needed help with the extraction just to let her know, because it was my first procedure out of school. I did all the extractions and the surgical flap without asking for help and she was so impressed about it. She told me that after her graduation approximately 7 years ago she had to take multiple CEs and wet labs in order to develop her dental skills because there was not enough emphasis for dentistry when she was in school. And I shared my experience with her about my dental elective and my amazing Clinician Dr. Noriko.     -Leyra Troche Padilla
2.    I am very thankful that I had an opportunity to be a part of Dr. Noriko’s dental elective. Without the skills I learned during dental elective I would not have had the confidence and skill to perform dental extractions my first few months out of school. I have also not had any complications with my extractions due to the hours of practice I had at school.
     The practice I am at now happened to get a dental X-ray machine right before I started. Having dental elective during my last semester provided me the knowledge and confidence to assist my colleagues and coworkers once out of school.      -Olivia Fraser DVM
3.    Veterinary dental health and overall veterinary general health are closely linked. During my first year after graduation, I have had some cases that the patient exhibited inappetence.  After the physical exam and diagnostics, severe dental disease was the definitive diagnosis.  Being involved with the dental program at TUCVM allowed me the foundation necessary to efficiently perform dental cleanings and extractions to improve the patients’ overall health.  The portable dental equipment donated to TUCVM was an excellent tool in preparing me for equipment that I use regularly in general practice.    -Clarrissa Porter, DVM
4.    My name is Luis Torres and I am a first year veterinarian graduated from Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2019. I had the great opportunity to be a dental elective student and I will be forever grateful for the knowledge that I acquired from it. Being a recently graduated veterinarian can be a scary thing, with a lot of changes and new opportunities. Luckily I have been able to utilize the dentistry skills that I learned from Dr. Noriko Aoi while I was in veterinary school with confidence and joy.     -Luis A. Torres, DVM
5.    Participating in the dental program at TUCVM really allowed me to be confident with dental procedures starting off at my current job. Our schedules are pretty hectic here, but for my first dental procedure which included extractions of about 3 cheek teeth, my boss took time off her schedule to accompany me.  After I began, she told me she really didn’t need to be monitoring me based on how I conducted myself, because she saw I was confident and sure of how I was handling the procedure.  Without that program, I feel my ability to be confident in reading radiographs and doing extractions (in particular) would have taken a lot longer to develop.   -J.M. Miller
6.    Having the opportunity to expand my knowledge in dentistry allowed me to distinguish myself from other candidates when I was in the hiring process. It also gave the comfort and security that I needed when I started working on procedures on my own.  This allowed me to provide better care for my patients and help them recover quickly after the procedure.    -Carlos Lloveras-Fuentes

Feedback from Dental Elective Students
    Class of 2019
    Class of 2020